- to listen attentively; hearken.
- Archaic. to listen to; hear.
- a hunter's shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent.
- hark back,
- (of hounds) to return along the course in order to regain a lost scent.
- to return to a previous subject or point; revert: He kept harking back to his early days in vaudeville.
Origin of hark
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (intr, adverb) to return to an earlier subject, point, or position, as in speech or thought
- (intr; usually imperative) to listen; pay attention
Word Origin and History for hark back
late 12c., from Old English *heorcian, perhaps an intensive form from base of hieran (see hear). Cf. talk/tale. Cognate with Old Frisian harkia "listen," Middle Dutch horken, Old High German horechon, German horchen. To hark back (1829) originally referred to hounds returning along a track when the scent has been lost, till they find it again. Related: Harked; harking.
Idioms and Phrases with hark back
Return to a previous point, as in Let us hark back briefly to my first statement. This expression originally alluded to hounds retracing their course when they have lost their quarry's scent. It may be dying out. [First half of 1800s]