Bark up the wrong tree



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.
(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.
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.
noun
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
verb
(intransitive) (of a dog or any of certain other animals) to make its typical loud abrupt cry
(intransitive) (of a person, gun, etc) to make a similar loud harsh sound
to say or shout in a brusque, peremptory, or angry tone: he barked an order
(US, informal) to advertise (a show, merchandise, etc) by loudly addressing passers-by
(informal) bark up the wrong tree, to misdirect one’s attention, efforts, etc; be mistaken
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 (transitive)
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
noun
a variant spelling (esp US) of barque
n.

“tree skin,” c.1300, from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse borkr “bark,” from Proto-Germanic *barkuz, which probably is related to birch and Low German borke. The native word was rind.

“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.

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).
v.

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.
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.

verb phrase

To be mistaken; be seeking in the wrong direction: You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think the cause is entirely economic (1830s+)
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 ]

bark is worse than one’s bite, one’s
bark up the wrong tree

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