Definition of red herring noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


red herring

BrE BrE//ˌred ˈherɪŋ//
; NAmE NAmE//ˌred ˈherɪŋ//
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an unimportant fact, idea, event, etc. that takes people’s attention away from the important ones He deliberately threw a red herring into the conversation. From the custom of using the smell of a smoked, dried herring (which was red) to train dogs to hunt.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: red herring