fool's errand

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fool's errand (plural fools' errands)

  1. (idiomatic) A foolish undertaking, especially one that is purposeless, fruitless, nonsensical, or certain to fail.
    • 1821, Sir Walter Scott, chapter 1, in Kenilworth:
      If I were to travel only that I might be discontented with that which I can get at home, methinks I should go but on a fool's errand.
    • 1988, Michael S. Serrill, "Diplomacy To Dream the Impossible Dream," Time, 7 Mar.,
      Shultz took little notice of the Soviet view or that of others who said his Middle East mission was a fool's errand. "You can't be too afraid of failing," said the 67-year-old diplomat.
    Synonyms: lost errand, sleaveless errand, wild-goose chase
  2. (idiomatic) Such an undertaking, assigned as a prank.
    Synonym: snipe hunt


See also[edit]