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A.Word.A.Day--red herring

Pronunciation RealAudio

red herring (red HER-ing) noun

A misleading clue; something used to divert attention from the real issue.

[From the former practice of drawing a smoked herring across the track to teach hounds not to be distracted from other scents.]

"When I hear hysterical opposition from some self-styled leaders in the business community to such a common-sense policy as the living wage, I have to shake my head. They trot out all the tired old red herrings about the living wage being bad for business or adversely affecting the business climate or even causing layoffs." Terry Lierman, `Living Wage' Is Good for Workers and Businesses, The Washington Post, Mar 21, 2002.

This week's theme: terms with origins in food.


Never advise anyone to go to war or to marry. -Spanish Proverb

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