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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.
one of a breed of horses raised originally in Barbary.
Contemporary Examples

barb Dill insists her husband came back from Iraq a changed man.
The War’s Quiet Scandal ProPublica February 24, 2010

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 Stephen Schiff June 26, 2012

The beauty and grace of the rituals that barb undergoes are deeply contrasted with the inner turmoil she experiences here.
Big Love’s 12 Most Memorable Moments Jace Lacob March 18, 2011

Olsen: I think it is mostly embodied in barb and her journey this season.
Polygamy’s Back Jace Lacob January 6, 2010

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 Howard Kurtz October 16, 2012

Historical Examples

The barb of her contempt penetrated even his thick epidermis.
The Princess Elopes Harold MacGrath

How gracefully their Colonel, the young Count of Eberstein, bounds on his barb!
Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

Kate did not like to hear her father called barb, but Belle would not call him anything else.
Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman

In trying to draw it out they broke the shaft, thus leaving the barb in the wound.
Richard I Jacob Abbott

Working for barb Doubleday; he branded mavericks for him, played dummy for his land entries, swore to false affidavits for him.
Laramie Holds the Range Frank H. Spearman

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 pl) 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
(transitive) to provide with a barb or barbs
a breed of horse of North African origin, similar to the Arab but less spirited
(Austral) a black kelpie See kelpie1
noun acronym (in Britain)
Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board

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.


Read Also:

  • Barbarize

    to make barbarous; brutalize; corrupt: foreign influences barbarizing the Latin language. to become barbarous; lapse into barbarism. to use barbarisms in speaking or writing. Historical Examples In this age, poverty tends to barbarize men; it shuts them out from the educational influences of our times. Speeches, Addresses, and Occasional Sermons, Volume 1 (of 3) Theodore […]

  • Barbasco

    a shrub or small tree, Jacquinia barbasco, of tropical America, the source of a substance used to stun fish so they can be caught easily. any similar plant yielding a substance that stuns or kills fish. the fish-stunning or fish-killing substance obtained from these plants. Historical Examples The Savanerics poison pools with pounded leaves of […]

  • Barb bolt

    a bolt having barbs for resisting pull.

  • Barbudo

    beardfish. Historical Examples Blas, or barbudo, as we called the giant, was seated on a log sipping mat. The Purple Land W. H. Hudson

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