- the abrupt, harsh, explosive cry of a dog.
- a similar sound made by another animal, as a fox.
- a short, explosive sound, as of firearms: the bark of a revolver.
- a brusque order, reply, etc.: The foreman’s bark sent the idlers back to their machines.
- a cough.
verb (used without object)
- (of a dog or other animal) to utter an abrupt, explosive cry or a series of such cries.
- to make a similar sound: The big guns barked.
- to speak or cry out sharply or gruffly: a man who barks at his children.
- Informal. to advertise a theater performance, carnival sideshow, or the like, by standing at the entrance and calling out to passersby.
- to cough.
verb (used with object)
- to utter in a harsh, shouting tone: barking orders at her subordinates.
- 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.
- the external covering of the woody stems, branches, and roots of plants, as distinct and separable from the wood itself.
- Tanning. a mixture of oak and hemlock barks.
- candy, usually of chocolate with large pieces of nuts, made in flat sheets.
verb (used with object)
- to rub off or scrape the skin of, as by bumping into something: to bark one’s shins.
- to remove a circle of bark from; girdle.
- to cover, enclose, or encrust with or as if with bark.
- to treat with a bark infusion; tan.
- to strip the bark from; peel.
- Nautical. a sailing vessel having three or more masts, square-rigged on all but the aftermost mast, which is fore-and-aft-rigged.
- Literary. a boat or sailing vessel.
- the loud abrupt usually harsh or gruff cry of a dog or any of certain other animals
- a similar sound, such as one made by a person, gun, etc
- his bark is worse than his bite he is bad-tempered but harmless
- (intr) (of a dog or any of certain other animals) to make its typical loud abrupt cry
- (intr) (of a person, gun, etc) to make a similar loud harsh sound
- to say or shout in a brusque, peremptory, or angry tonehe barked an order
- US informal to advertise (a show, merchandise, etc) by loudly addressing passers-by
- bark up the wrong tree informal to misdirect one’s attention, efforts, etc; be mistaken
- 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
- to scrape or rub off skin, as in an injury
- to remove the bark or a circle of bark from (a tree or log)
- to cover or enclose with bark
- to tan (leather), principally by the tannins in barks
- a variant spelling (esp US) of barque
“any small ship,” early 15c., from Middle French barque (15c.), from Late Latin barca (c.400 C.E.), probably cognate with Vulgar Latin *barica (see barge). More precise sense of “three-masted ship” (17c.) often is spelled barque to distinguish it.
in reference to a dog sound, Old English beorcan “to bark,” from Proto-Germanic *berkanan (cf. Old Norse berkja “to bark”), of echoic origin. Related: Barked; barking. To bark up the wrong tree is U.S. colloquial, first attested 1832, from notion of hounds following the wrong scent.
dog sound, Old English beorc, from bark (v.). Paired and compared with bite (n.) since at least 1660s; the proverb is older: “Timid dogs bark worse than they bite” was in Latin (Canis timidus vehementius latrat quam mordet, Quintius Curtius).
- 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.
In addition to the idioms beginning with bark
- bark is worse than his bite
- bark up the wrong tree
- talk one’s arm off (the bark off a tree)