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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 harking
Historical Examples
  • Or—harking back to her original theory—that he was an emissary from Scotland Yard?

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • There has never been any attempt at harking back to earlier periods.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • This, for Plotinos, was harking back to Numenius's evil world-soul, fr.

    Plotinos: Complete Works, v. 4 Plotinos (Plotinus)
  • She could only do so, however, by harking back—as if it had been a fascination.

    The Golden Bowl Henry James
  • Why do you keep on harking back to the subject when I have spoken so plainly?

    Fan W.H. Hudson (AKA Henry Harford)
  • Then presently he went on, harking back to the subject of Horrocks.

  • I had no choice but to go on, harking back as soon as I could.

    The Passenger from Calais Arthur Griffiths
  • "I have been harking back," explained Mrs. Lascelles, eventually.

    No Hero E.W. Hornung
  • harking back to lobsters, I am reminded of a tragedy to which I was an eyewitness.

  • It is moreover quite inartistic in its harking back to the story of the arrest after giving fuller details.

    What Gunpowder Plot Was Samuel Rawson Gardiner
British Dictionary definitions for harking


(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 harking



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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