wild goose chase
a foolish and hopeless pursuit of something unattainable；a wild goose chase is a search for something that will never be found, or a race to catch something that cannot be caught. The thing may be impossible to find or catch, or the goal is imaginary and its purpose is tricking someone.
A search that is completely unsuccessful and a waste of time because the person or thing being searched for does not exist or is somewhere else.
The phrase has been traced back to Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," 1597. The original meaning was an event in horseback riding, in which riders followed the leader in a V formation—similar to the pattern in which geese fly.
白费力气的搜寻；徒劳之举; 劳而无功的事情; 徒劳无益; 竹篮打水一场空。
实际上，这个习语的起源与大雁或追逐大雁无关。“wild goose chase”这个习语的起源来自于一种叫“wild goose chase”的古老赛马。比赛包括几匹马以预定的距离跟在领先的骑手后面赛跑。赛跑或多或少有点像大雁飞行的“V”队形，所以称为“wild goose chase”。
然而，这种“wild goose chase”比赛过去总是沿着不可预测的路线进行。这就是为什么这个习语最终被用来形容某人漫无目的，或无用地做某事。（theidioms.com）
Do we think Russians meddled in the 2016 election? Probably, but the question is whether it impacted the outcome of the race. And the bigger question is whether Trump was involved. So far no one has come close to proving that he was … and this latest wild goose chase certainly looks like a crippling blow to those seeking to prove that he was.
These errors had two fatal consequences. The most obvious was that a number of engines and dozens of firefighters were sent on a wild-goose chase and did not get to the fire for many minutes.
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