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[hahrk] /hɑrk/
verb (used without object)
to listen attentively; hearken.
verb (used with object)
Archaic. to listen to; hear.
a hunter's shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent.
Verb phrases
hark back,
  1. (of hounds) to return along the course in order to regain a lost scent.
  2. to return to a previous subject or point; revert:
    He kept harking back to his early days in vaudeville.
Origin of hark
1175-1225; Middle English herken, earlier herkien, Old English *heorcian; cognate with Old Frisian herkia, harkia; akin to Middle Dutch harken, Middle High German, German horchen. See hearken, hear
Related forms
unharked, adjective
4b. refer, allude; regress, retrogress. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for harked
Historical Examples
  • Eric promised quickly and harked back to the letters of introduction.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • Lodge's plumage was varied, and, like his flight, harked back to race.

  • "No—" There was a tone in this which let me feel that her thoughts had harked back to Suzette.

    Man and Maid Elinor Glyn
  • We harked back to the days when I had first seen him in England.

    An African Adventure Isaac F. Marcosson
  • As is the case with most reformers, he has harked back to the past for his future types.


    James Huneker
  • Dan looked at it askance, and harked back to the sundial and education.

    We of the Never-Never Jeanie "Mrs. Aeneas" Gunn
  • Startled by this, Cameron harked back to his most expressive Scotch.

    Bulldog Carney W. A. Fraser
  • I harked back to the sentence in which he had broken in on me.

    The High Heart Basil King
  • But Grace harked back to Suzette, and the last of the Cardews harked with her.

    A Poor Wise Man Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • He harked back then to his idea of the plain people, with homes to protect.

    A Poor Wise Man Mary Roberts Rinehart
British Dictionary definitions for harked


(intransitive; usually imperative) to listen; pay attention
Word Origin
Old English heorcnian to hearken; related to Old Frisian herkia, Old High German hōrechen; see hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for harked



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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