What’s In A Word?

I investigate words, allusions, metaphors and such that have caught my interest over the years.

red herring I’ve often read or heard this expression, each time picturing in my mind, of course, a bright red fish and wondering what this peculiar fish brought to the meaning of the message. Smelling something fishy about it, I looked up “red herring” in my “The New Oxford American Distionary.” Here’s the entry:

1 a dried smoked herring, which is turned red by the smoke.

2 something, esp. a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting: the book is fast-paced, exciting, and full of red herrings. [ORIGIN: so named from the practice of using the scent of red herring in training hounds.]

Now I get it! red-herring

One thought on “What’s In A Word?

  1. sblazak says:

    As I was searching for red herring illustrations, I stumbled on the blog of Linda Silvestri, Sketched Out http://sketchedout.wordpress.com/
    Linda is a hugely talented graphic artist in LA and she uses her blog to “sketch out” her thoughts and observations. You just have to see her whimsical drawings of animals. Go to Feb. 2008 in the blog’s archives to see the illustration that accompanies the posting she wrote for “red herring,” which is about a thousand times better than mine–I’m green with envy.

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