Top Definition
In novels, usually mystery novels, a "red herring" is an extraneous character meant to divert the reader's attention from the true killer/robber/etc. It is usually a logical choice for the culprit, but ends up being nothing.
I thought Hampton was the killer, but he was a total red herring. It was Muldoon.
by Clinto September 06, 2005
Something used to divert attention form the real matter, issue or object(a dead red herring was often used to confuse or test the scent of a hunting dog)
That kid was just a red herring to prevent his friends from being caught in the act.
by The Return of Light Joker December 13, 2007
Red herrings were often used by jail birds to mislead hound dogs that were tracking them.

The expression "red herring" refers to something that is misleading.
His wedding ring is a red herring, he is definately gay.
by F B August 31, 2007
Herrings put into a tub with salt or brine, later spitted on sharp wooden spits, and hung up in a chimney to be smoked and dried. Such preserved fish would keep for months (and indeed they were transported in barrels to provide protein on long sea voyages) but were inedible in this state and needed to be soaked to soften them and remove the salt before they could be cooked.

Do I smell a rat?

One key characteristic of red herrings, apart from their colour, was their strong smell, so much so that one use for them on occasion was to train hounds to follow a scent.

a deliberately misleading object
Neither fish nor flesh, nor good red herring
by Andreas Wb May 10, 2005
technique used by politicians, often conservatives, to distract voters' attention away from real and true issues that need immediate address.
Reporter: "President Bush, we have had more casualties in Iraq this month than in any other month."

President Bush: "Casualties, man gay people want to get married!"

Commentator: "Wow, did you see that red herring Bush just threw out there? Amazing stuff folks!"
by sickmaker April 12, 2008
A term used to describe a guy/girl who you're going out with/fucking just to get over someone else you can't get.

Red herrings were often used to mislead hound dogs; the expression refers to something that is misleading.

Therefore - you try to convince yourself that you like someone (to mislead you/lead you away from the person you actually like), and call him/her your 'red herring'.
A: I'm so in love with him but he's dating someone :(
B: I'm so sorry :( what are you going to do?
A: I think I might go for Tony.
B: Tony? Why! Do you even like him?!
A: Nah, but he'll just be my red herring.
by QTπ94 April 05, 2012
- A stinky or pungent vagina.

The red comes from the color of it, and the herring is because it smells like fish.
Hey, I heard that Will's sister has a red herring!

I was with my girlfriend last night, but I had to leave, because I discovered her red herring.
by nung51 March 08, 2012
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