With the advent of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter the realm of slang terminology is seemingly growing bigger with each passing day. Many words, including “hash tag” and “friended”, have crossed over into formal discourse. This has further blurred the line between what can be considered formal and informal speech. You can increase your vocabulary and get a sense for the internet shorthand that is being used to cover the most important topics of the day by briefly reviewing social media websites. You’re likely to find that similar to the workplace, those who can interpret slang the fastest will have an edge when it comes to staying current with the latest news. Stay ahead of the curve by reading about the origins of the phrase “Wild Goose Chase.”

Idiom: Wild Goose Chase

This term is used to describe a hopeless quest, a worthless hunt or chase, or a futile pursuit.

Example:

His opponent sent him on a wild goose chase while he ran off towards the right direction to snatch the prize.

Origin:

Once again, Shakespeare introduces something new to the English language through the term ‘wild goose chase’. The first ever recorded citation of the expression was in Romeo and Juliet in 1592. wild goose chaseIt was in a line of the character Mercutio who said:

“Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five.”

The definition behind the expression is not surprising, as anyone knows that trying to run after a wild goose will almost certainly end in failure. However, back in Shakespeare’s day, he actually meant a completely different kind of chase. During those days, a form of horse racing meant having all the horses following a lead horse. With all horses in formation behind the lead, they resemble a group of wild geese as they fly in formation. This was something that was mentioned in The Mother’s Blessing by Nicholas Breton, published in 1602:

                “Esteem a horse, according to his pace, but loose no wagers on a wild goose chase.”

Accent Pros idioms series

Accent Pros has a continuing series on accent reduction tips, including common English phrases and American idioms. Be sure to check out other accent reduction blog posts to find your favorites. Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening? Check out our on-line accent reduction courses available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other accent reduction tips. Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter

Please take a moment to share and like this free content.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS