- 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 for barb on Thesaurus.com
- one of a breed of horses raised originally in Barbary.
Origin of barb2
Origin of barb3
Examples from the Web for barb
Bills are piling up in an Iowa court case, Heki v. Bachmann, filed by another former Bachmann staffer, Barb Heki.Exclusive: Congressional Ethics Probe Adds to Michele Bachmann’s Political Woes
March 25, 2013
But every barb is delivered with a wink—and a chiseled, dashing smile.Behind the Scenes at ‘The Soup’: Joel McHale, Brian Williams & More
February 8, 2013
The Daily Pic: Barb Choit shows us old images as they fade to black – or cyan.CPR For Dying Photos
November 24, 2012
Even an exchange on gun control enabled Obama to recycle a barb once used against John Kerry, who played Romney in debate prep.Barack Obama Seizes the Upper Hand Over Mitt Romney at Second Debate
October 17, 2012
Nora could arm and disarm within a sentence, could wield a barb and its curative salve within a phrase.Remembering Nora Ephron as Our Dorothy Parker, but More
June 27, 2012
How gracefully their Colonel, the young Count of Eberstein, bounds on his barb!Vivian Grey
Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
The "mastiff" epithet stuck like a barb in my boyish chivalry.Lords of the North
A. C. Laut
My grandfather had a barb of thees kind—but she has gone dead, and so have my grandfather.
The delayed realization of her patience of misery rankled like a barb.Mountain Blood
In trying to draw it out they broke the shaft, thus leaving the barb in the wound.Richard I
- 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 barb
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.)).
late 15c., "to clip, mow;" see barb (n.). Meaning "to fit or furnish with barbs" is from 1610s. Related: Barbed; barbing.
- A sharp point projecting backward, as on the stinger of a bee.
- One of the hairlike branches on the shaft of a feather.