What is the origin of the phrase “red herring?”
a) A dish served at hunt breakfast
b) A red herring is used in drag hunts to lay scent for the hounds.
c) A red herring was used as a training tool when teaching hounds to hunt.
d) All of the above.
Red herrings (or smoked herring, which turns red during the smoking process) were said to be used as part of a training exercise to attempt to throw hunting dogs off the scent of the quarry. The practice of using preserved fish to confuse hunting dogs led to the use of the term ‘red herring’ for anything that diverts attention from the issue at hand.