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Definition of "red herring" []

  • A smoked herring having a reddish color. (noun)
  • Something that draws attention away from the central issue. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "red herring" in a sentence
  • "They were the most tireless old bores you ever struck, red herring worshippers to a man, asking nothing from me beyond an occasional nod and an instruction to my babu to make a note of that point."
  • "‘Well, so then I was with the Grand Duke,’ explained Leo, drawing a red herring across this painful reflection, ‘and trying to get him to let my wife leave San Juan with us the next day; and Mr Cockrill and Mr Cecil appeared and told us what had happened up on the tower."
  • "The Mailman's time lag is a very real thing, not a red herring at all."