• synonyms


verb (used without object)
  1. to listen attentively; hearken.
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verb (used with object)
  1. Archaic. to listen to; hear.
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  1. a hunter's shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent.
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Verb Phrases
  1. 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.
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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 formsun·harked, adjective

Synonyms for hark

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for harking


Examples from the Web for harking

Historical Examples of harking

  • 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.


    Dorothy Menpes

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

  • 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?


    W.H. Hudson (AKA Henry Harford)

British Dictionary definitions for harking


  1. (intr; usually imperative) to listen; pay attention
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Word Origin for hark

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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper