A needle in a haystack or a red herring or Keeping up appearances

A needle in a haystack

Something that is impossible or extremely difficult to find, especially because the area you have to search is too large:

Finding the piece of paper I need in this huge pile of documents is like looking for/trying to find a needle in a haystack

Cambridge Dictionary

Red herring

A fact, idea, or subject that takes people’s attention away from the central point being considered:

The police investigated many clues, but they were all red herrings.
Racism was not a factor in the case – that was a red herring thrown in by the defense lawyers.

Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary

The blunt ax

Turn a blind eye

The pendulum

Pull the wool

A long way to go

Tip of the iceberg

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The idiom “a red herring” is typically used to refer to a piece of information or argument that is intentionally misleading or distracting, and which diverts attention away from the real issue or topic at hand. Here are some key points to keep in mind about this idiom:

  1. Origin: The term “red herring” originally referred to a smoked herring fish that was often used to distract hunting dogs from the scent of their prey. This technique was sometimes used in training the dogs, and the term “red herring” eventually came to be used metaphorically to refer to any intentional distraction.

  2. Meaning: Today, the idiom “a red herring” is used to describe any misleading or irrelevant information that is used to divert attention away from a more important issue. It can be used in a wide range of contexts, from politics and business to everyday conversations.

  3. Examples: For example, a politician might use a red herring by bringing up an unrelated issue during a debate in order to distract voters from a more difficult question. In a criminal investigation, a red herring might be a false lead that is intentionally planted in order to throw investigators off the trail of the real culprit.

  4. Impact: The use of a red herring can be detrimental to the pursuit of truth or resolution of a problem, as it can cause confusion and waste time and resources. It is important to recognize when a red herring is being used and to stay focused on the real issues at hand.

  5. Similar idioms: Other idioms that are similar in meaning to “a red herring” include “smoke and mirrors,” “a wild goose chase,” and “a distraction.”

1 –  9 Year Old Boy Cries During Audition – Then Amazes Everyone

Gepubliceerd op 22 nov. 2012

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1 Building a new generation of public defenders | Jonathan Rapping | TEDxAtlanta 

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TEDx Talks

 Gepubliceerd op 8 mei 2015

Attorney Jonathan Rapping knows, “it’s really hard to be a caring lawyer. Caring is painful.” His organization, Gideon’s Promise, is inspiring a new generation of public defenders facing “the nation’s greatest civil rights issue today” – the tragic shortage of representation for those who can’t afford a lawyer.

Jonathan Rapping is strengthening public defenders and transforming public defense across the nation.

The 1963 Supreme Court ruling, Gideon V. Wainwright, mandated that poor people accused of crimes must be provided counsel if we are to live up to our nation’s promise of equal justice. Today, however, our nation’s jails and prisons are disproportionately populated with members of our most vulnerable communities due to structural, financial, and cultural challenges that have kept us from fulfilling this promise. Through Gideon’s Promise, Jon is building a new generation of public defenders to address these challenges and help shift the nation towards true equality in our justice system.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx


2 Iraq – How do you sleep at night, Mr Blair?


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Gepubliceerd op 13 jul. 2014

 Neil Coppendale interrogates Tony Blair live on Channel 5 about the invasion of Iraq and asks him how he manages to sleep at night.
With the Chilcot Report in sight, at last, these and other questions will once again become the centre of national attention.
This interview is as relevant now as it was at the time.

“A needle in a haystack” is a commonly used idiomatic expression that refers to something that is very difficult or nearly impossible to find or locate because it is surrounded by a vast number of similar objects or information.

Some key points about “a needle in a haystack” are:

  1. Origin: The phrase “a needle in a haystack” is believed to have originated in the 16th century and has been used in various literary works since then.

  2. Meaning: The phrase refers to the difficulty of finding something that is very small or hidden among a large number of other objects or information, making it almost impossible to find.

  3. Usage: The phrase is commonly used in everyday speech to express the idea of searching for something that is hard to find or obtain.

  4. Contexts: The idiom can be used in various contexts, such as searching for a lost item, looking for a specific piece of information in a large database, or trying to identify a particular individual among a crowd of people.

  5. Solutions: In order to find a needle in a haystack, one may need to use specialized tools or techniques such as magnets or metal detectors, or to employ a methodical approach to systematically search through the haystack. Alternatively, the use of advanced technology such as artificial intelligence may help to quickly locate the desired object or information.

“Keeping up Appearances” is a British sitcom that originally aired from 1990 to 1995. The show revolves around the life of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced “Bouquet”), a middle-class woman obsessed with her social status and her desire to climb the social ladder.

Here are some key points of the show:

  1. Hyacinth Bucket is the main character, and she is determined to project an image of being upper-class and refined, despite her modest background.

  2. Hyacinth’s husband, Richard, is a long-suffering man who is often dragged into his wife’s schemes and social aspirations.

  3. The show features a cast of quirky and eccentric characters, including Hyacinth’s sisters, Rose and Daisy, and her neighbors, Elizabeth and Emmett.

  4. Many of the show’s jokes and humor come from the contrast between Hyacinth’s pretensions and the reality of her situation.

  5. Hyacinth is constantly striving to improve her social status, whether it’s by joining various committees or attending high-class events, but her efforts often backfire.

  6. The show also explores themes of family, friendship, and community, as Hyacinth navigates her relationships with her family and neighbors.

Overall, “Keeping up Appearances” is a classic British sitcom that is known for its wit, humor, and memorable characters.

While “Keeping Up Appearances” is primarily known as the title of the British sitcom, the phrase “keeping up appearances” is also used as an idiom in the English language. Here are some key points about the idiom:

  1. “Keeping up appearances” means maintaining a certain image or facade in order to present oneself as successful, respectable, or socially acceptable, even if this image is not entirely accurate or truthful.

  2. The phrase can be used to describe individuals or groups who prioritize outward appearances over substance or authenticity.

  3. “Keeping up appearances” can also refer to situations where people pretend to be something they’re not in order to fit in or impress others.

  4. The idiom is often used in a negative context to criticize people who are overly concerned with their public image and fail to prioritize more important aspects of their lives, such as personal relationships or inner values.

  5. The phrase can also be used in a positive context, such as when someone maintains a positive attitude and appearance in the face of difficult circumstances.

Overall, “keeping up appearances” is a common idiom that refers to the act of maintaining a certain image or facade in order to present oneself in a certain way.

3 Cheating Meter Maid

9 apr. 2011


Parking police woman hides the fire hydrant under her skirt and then gives a ticket to the people who park in that spot. A presentation of the Just For Laughs Gags. The funny hidden camera pranks show for the whole family. Juste pour rire les gags, l’émission de caméra caché la plus comique de la télé!

The blunt ax

Turn a blind eye

The pendulum

Pull the wool

A long way to go

Tip of the iceberg

Current Page