- a point or pointed part projecting backward from a main point, as of a fishhook or arrowhead.
- an obviously or openly unpleasant or carping remark.
- Botany, Zoology. a hooked or sharp bristle.
- Ornithology. one of the processes attached to the rachis of a feather.
- one of a breed of domestic pigeons, similar to the carriers or homers, having a short, broad bill.
- any of numerous, small, Old World cyprinid fishes of the genera Barbus and Puntius, often kept in aquariums.
- Usually barbs. Veterinary Pathology. a small protuberance under the tongue in horses and cattle, especially when inflamed and swollen.
- Also barbe. a linen covering for the throat and breast, formerly worn by women mourners and now only by some nuns.
- Obsolete. a beard.
- to furnish with a barb or barbs.
Origin of barb1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- one of a breed of horses raised originally in Barbary.
Origin of barb2
Origin of barb3
Examples from the Web for barbs
Rather than trying to craft your own Bisset barbs, you can just impress your friends with these Twitter zingers.Hollywood's Morning After: Emma Watson’s Pants and More
January 13, 2014
Male water striders are clearly adapted for marathon sex: they have hooks and barbs to keep them attached to females.‘Zoobiquity’: What Animals Can Teach Us About Our Health
June 17, 2012
Cain kept insisting the barbs were “apples and oranges,” turning his answers into fruit salad.Romney Steals Spotlight From Cain
October 19, 2011
Tyson gave his roast in the form of iconic poetry, drawing on The Iliad, Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson to deliver his barbs.7 Outrageous Moments from Charlie Sheen’s Roast
September 20, 2011
Even on the events (all too rare) when Jackson or Lopez (never Tyler) venture into criticism, the barbs barely break the flesh.The American Idol Implosion
April 12, 2011
Then it seemed as if the barbs had caught in its clothing and held it there.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
With hooks, barbs, and glands they cling to the covering of animals.Seed Dispersal
William J. Beal
The barbs carried the harpoon through the air like the wings of a bird.
Afterward the Cave-men fished with harpoons which had barbs on only one side.
Caught in the barbs of the wire, wedged in, the bodies hung suspended.The Octopus
- a subsidiary point facing in the opposite direction to the main point of a fish-hook, harpoon, arrow, etc, intended to make extraction difficult
- any of various pointed parts, as on barbed wire
- a cutting remark; gibe
- any of the numerous hairlike filaments that form the vane of a feather
- a beardlike growth in certain animals
- a hooked hair or projection on certain fruits
- any small cyprinid fish of the genus Barbus (or Puntius) and related genera, such as B. conchonius (rosy barb)
- (usually plural) any of the small fleshy protuberances beneath the tongue in horses and cattle
- a white linen cloth forming part of a headdress extending from the chin to the upper chest, originally worn by women in the Middle Ages, now worn by nuns of some orders
- obsolete a beard
- (tr) to provide with a barb or barbs
- a breed of horse of North African origin, similar to the Arab but less spirited
- Australian a black kelpieSee kelpie 1
- Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
Word Origin and History for barbs
late 15c., "to clip, mow;" see barb (n.). Meaning "to fit or furnish with barbs" is from 1610s. Related: Barbed; barbing.
late 14c., "barb of an arrow," from Old French barbe (11c.) "beard, beardlike appendage," from Latin barba "beard," perhaps cognate with Old English beard (see beard (n.)).
- A sharp point projecting backward, as on the stinger of a bee.
- One of the hairlike branches on the shaft of a feather.