bark

1
[ bahrk ]
/ bɑrk /
||

noun

verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

to utter in a harsh, shouting tone: barking orders at her subordinates.

Idioms

    bark at the moon, to protest in vain: Telling her that she's misinformed is just barking at the moon.
    bark up the wrong tree, to assail or pursue the wrong person or object; misdirect one's efforts: If he expects me to get him a job, he's barking up the wrong tree.

Origin of bark

1
before 900; Middle English berken, Old English beorcan; akin to Old English borcian to bark, Old Norse berkja to bluster, Lithuanian burgė́ti to growl, quarrel, Serbo-Croatian br̀gljati to murmur

SYNONYMS FOR bark

Related forms

bark·less, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for bark up the wrong tree (1 of 3)

bark

1
/ (bɑːk) /

noun


verb

Word Origin for bark

Old English beorcan; related to Lithuanian burgěti to quarrel, growl

British Dictionary definitions for bark up the wrong tree (2 of 3)

bark

2
/ (bɑːk) /

noun

a protective layer of dead corky cells on the outside of the stems of woody plants
any of several varieties of this substance that can be used in tanning, dyeing, or in medicine
an informal name for cinchona

verb (tr)

Word Origin for bark

C13: from Old Norse börkr; related to Swedish, Danish bark, German Borke; compare Old Norse björkr birch

British Dictionary definitions for bark up the wrong tree (3 of 3)

bark

3
/ (bɑːk) /

noun

a variant spelling (esp US) of barque

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

Science definitions for bark up the wrong tree

bark

[ bärk ]

The protective outer covering of the trunk, branches, and roots of trees and other woody plants. Bark includes all tissues outside the vascular cambium. In older trees, bark is usually divided into inner bark, consisting of living phloem, and outer bark, consisting of the periderm (the phelloderm, cork cambium, and cork) and all the tissues outside it. The outer bark is mainly dead tissue that protects the tree from heat, cold, insects, and other dangers. The appearance of bark varies according to the manner in which the periderm forms, as in broken layers or smoother rings. Bark also has lenticels, porous corky areas that allow for the exchange of water vapor and gases with the interior living tissues.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with bark up the wrong tree (1 of 2)

bark up the wrong tree

Waste one's efforts by pursuing the wrong thing or path, as in If you think I can come up with more money, you're barking up the wrong tree. This term comes from the nocturnal pursuit of raccoon-hunting with the aid of dogs. Occasionally a raccoon fools the dogs, which crowd around a tree, barking loudly, not realizing their quarry has taken a different route. [Early 1800s]


Idioms and Phrases with bark up the wrong tree (2 of 2)

bark

In addition to the idioms beginning with bark

  • bark is worse than his bite
  • bark up the wrong tree

also see:

  • talk one's arm off (the bark off a tree)

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.