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Chris -- 2018-04-11

#1 2006-12-02 05:42:28

Peter Forster
Eggcornista
From: UK
Registered: 2006-09-06
Posts: 1017

wide/wild goose chase/blue yonder

wild goose chase – 640,000 ghits
wide goose chase – 57 ghits

A ‘wild goose chase’ means a hopeless quest, futile effort etc. but I’m not sure that the potential eggcorn variant which employs the image of a wide goose always means exactly the same thing; the first of the latter examples seems to suggest that the futility of the quest is due to having too many possible routes to follow – the ‘width’ of the goose, perhaps.

例如:The bandits left a trail of false clues which set the police in a wide-goose chase through the mountains. (那些賊人留下假的痕跡,引導警察在山上作 ...
www.rthk.org.hk/elearning/yangtl/studyr … ic4_p5.htm – 33k – Cached –

The next example seems to suggest that should the goose be wide enough, the quest may not be futile after all:

I’m unawares of the rarity behind this record, but as far as I’m concerned a wide goose chase was conducted to track this piece down. ...
www.progarchives.com/Progressive_rock_d … d_id=10446 – 38k – Cached –

wide blue yonder – 47,500 ghits
wild blue yonder – 1,020,000 ghits (294,000 without Werner Herzog film references)

I’ve always thought the expression was ‘wide’ blue yonder, that it referred to endless expanse of horizon and was probably nautical in origin. ‘Wild’ blue yonder I’m guessing is the eggcorn but if it is, it has eclipsed the original by a wide margin…

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#2 2006-12-02 18:14:03

patschwieterman
Administrator
From: California
Registered: 2005-10-25
Posts: 1665

Re: wide/wild goose chase/blue yonder

I like wide goose chase a lot. Is it a chase for a wide goose, or a goose chase that ranges widely? The delightful ambivalence of our native tongue….

“Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder” is the official song (I think) of the US Air Force. It’s been around since the late 1930s. Books.google.com shows that the phrase had a bit of currency at least for a couple of decades before the song showed up. It may be an American thang.

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