Have you ever gone on a wild goose chase? Did you know that the phrase “wild goose chase” was likely introduced by Shakespeare? A wild goose chase is another way of saying “a futile task,” “hopeless quest,” or “pointless effort” – similar to if a person decided to spend hours trying to track down wild geese, who are very shy and not likely to be caught. The phrase appears in Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene iv during an exchange between Romeo and Mercutio:
Switch and spurs, switch and spurs; or I’ll cry a match.
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:
was I with you there for the goose?