Other Word Forms of Red-herring
Origin of Red-herring
It originated from a news story by English journalist William Cobbett, c. 1805, in which he claimed that as a boy he used a red herring (a cured and salted herring) to mislead hounds following a trail; the story served as an extended metaphor for the London press, which had earned Cobbett's ire by publishing false news accounts regarding Napoleon.
Until 2008, the accepted etymology of the idiom was that red herring were used to train dogs to track scents. This has proven to be a false etymology.
Sense 2, probably from the use of smoked herrings to lay scent trails for hounds to follow
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
Find Similar Words
Find similar words to red-herring using the buttons below.