Rabbit Trail

You know how sometimes a discussion can go off on a crazy tangent, make lots of crazy turns?  You don't know where it's going, and you don't know how you got there?  Your discussion has gone down a Rabbit Trail.  (Sometimes I like to call them bunny trails when I'm feeling silly.)
If you've ever seen a dog follow a real rabbit trail in a field or someone's back yard, you'll see where this idiom comes from.  The dog will endlessly sniff around in circles, never getting anywhere.  And it certainly never finds the rabbit!  Rabbit trails in discussions can be fun and interesting, but they usually interfere with resolving the topic at hand.

You would never use that phrase to describe a leisurely trip when you explored a side path and had an interesting adventure.  That's more like taking the road less traveled by, which is a literary reference to a poem by Robert Frost, "The Road Not Taken."

And we reach another week of idioms.  You may or may not know, but I have been posting a link to the new entries on Facebook.  Do you think that I should continue to do that?  Please, leave an indication either here or on Facebook.  Thanks!  Have a great weekend! :)

7 comments:

  1. I like the way you go about explaining English idioms; it is interesting and explanatory.
    As we all know English idioms are not easily mastered even for native speakers!
    With your profound knowledge in this field, it would be a shame if you discontinued this weekly fun idiom session.

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm glad if you find it helpful. I'm actually amazed how much traffic this blog continues to get despite the fact that I no longer update it regularly. You can be sure that I will add more as I think of them. If you have any suggestions, I'll do my best to add them. :)

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  2. Are you still adding idioms? I might like to be added to your list..?

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    1. Yes, I'm still adding idioms. Not as often as I used to, but yes. :)

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  3. What would be the positive version of rabbit trail? I know you said leisurely trip or adventure, so I'm wondering if there is a word or idiom to describe the flip side. The positive trip and adventure.

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  4. What idiom or word could be used to describe the positive trip, adventure or journey of conversation about the rabbit trail. I love the word but see it positive as do you. Can see the bad about it when u dont finish what u start but I like it either way.
    Thanks

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  5. Hmmmm.... Having watched many dogs follow rabbit trails, I can tell you for certain how it works. The rabbit, as soon as it realizes the dog is there, runs off. It virtually always runs in a great big circle, covering all kinds of terrain, going through brush piles, through briars, into ditches and out of them, but ALWAYS a circle. It always comes back to the spot it started running from...though it may take a while. Knowing the rabbit will return to the spot it "jumped" from is what gives the hunter his chance. Next time conversation goes off on a rabbit trail, just wait with your "gun" ready. It'll be back.

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