Main definitions of bark in English

: bark1bark2bark3

bark1

noun

  • 1The sharp explosive cry of a dog, fox, or seal.

    • ‘The bark of seals drowns out the din of the city you left behind, and at night the canal's placid silence is just what you need to decompress.’
    • ‘It was something in-between a bark and a growl and leaned strongly towards a snarl.’
    • ‘We're greeted by a chorus of excited barks and yelps.’
    • ‘The closest the aliens are shown to violence in the movie is when, as they approach the house, Graham's dog outside barks… and her barks trail off into squeals, and into silence.’
    • ‘The dogs outside went into a flurry of barks and snarls, and we both looked up.’
    • ‘Next thing she knew Poochie was making an uproar of barks and growls.’
    • ‘A golden retriever was running quickly towards her, his sharp barks awakening the other dogs in the neighborhood.’
    • ‘As soon as the click of key-in-lock was heard Melanie's sharp barks followed.’
    • ‘The pup stopped in front of him, and gave a sharp bark.’
    • ‘Whenever he came around, Chase would grow into a fit of barks and growls so ferocious Lia had to put him outside or in her bedroom.’
    • ‘Other species, including nonhuman primates, do not seem to learn vocalization in this way but have their various barks and growls hard-wired from birth.’
    • ‘He heard the sharp bark of a dog moments before the bang of pistol fire.’
    • ‘The apes bare the fierceness of their fangs, and their barks and snarls pierce the quietude of the forest.’
    • ‘In general, vocalizations are varied and include: trumpeting, whistles, twitters, honks, barks, grunts, quacks, croaks and growls.’
    • ‘They also communicate with snarls, barks, growls, and whines.’
    • ‘I watch as they sit together, deep in conversation, oblivious to the yelps and scuffles and barks taking place around their feet.’
    • ‘Every second, even when the dog disappeared from view, I could hear its barks and growls.’
    • ‘The wolf gave a sharp bark and motioned towards the exit.’
    • ‘As I tucked into this steaming Bunter-sized platter out on the darkening waters, I swear I heard the seals give a loud bark of disapproval.’
    • ‘Most of the wolves were nodding to each other and conversing in wolf speech, which consisted mostly of growls, grunts, barks and howls.’
    woof, yap, yelp, bay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A sound resembling a bark, typically one made by someone laughing or coughing.
      ‘a short bark of laughter’
      • ‘The words he spoke grated against the dry throat, and he coughed, the harsh bark filling the grand room as the man's own blood flecked his lips.’
      • ‘A small bark of laughter sounded from her lips, and she turned to flash a small smile.’
      • ‘She laughed then, her barks ringing among the trees.’
      • ‘Then there is another pause before it all starts up again, fire dopplering from one side of town to the other, now a rapid series of what sound like the distinctive bark of an AK47.’
      • ‘He guides you to long satisfying laughs or giddy giggles, while the rest of the cast scares you into sharp barks of laughter.’
      • ‘Freddy let out a sharp bark of laughter, causing Carter to come out of his stupor.’
      • ‘Then JacobGoldGotti would laugh - a humorless bark that made everyone uneasy.’
      • ‘I know some can feel D's pain when he lays it down about his love for the streets, but every time he screams, yells, howls and barks, I lose patience.’
      • ‘The Prince laughed, if the humorless barks of sound could really be called laughter.’
      • ‘Her face looks like thunder from the moment she gets up and any conversation is said in short barks.’
      • ‘The guys all elicited little coughs to hide their barks of laughter especially after they saw the look on Chantal's face.’
      • ‘She laughed, a short scoff of a bark, and Lana even managed to smile, even if it was a bit wan and forced.’
      • ‘After possibly hours of escaping, the heavy thundering of steps and short, barks of orders ended.’
      • ‘The chunky boy asked with a loud bark of a laugh before he shoved Sammy's shoulder hard enough that she stumbled back a step and further into the crates.’
      • ‘A pull of the trigger and the short bark of the gun filled the immediate area even as other bullets and screams grew louder.’
      • ‘A sharp bark erupted along with the whistling, she didn't pay much mind to it and thought she'd imagined it.’
      • ‘A sharp inward breath as splinters from the wall behind and to his right whizzed past his ears as the explosive bark of the gun nearly deafened him.’
      • ‘Eve grabbed the door handle, turned it, then let out a bark of a laugh.’
      • ‘With a sharp bark, Rush pulled away from the other robot, transforming into jet mode as he did so.’
      • ‘A small bark of a laugh escaped the Freeman's lips, so close to her ear, yet his grip about her body only increased slightly.’

verb

  • 1no object (of a dog, fox, or seal) give a bark.

    ‘a dog barked at her’
    • ‘The dog barked at an empty space and my Dad finally admitted he'd had the same dreams as me.’
    • ‘A dog barked at her but completely ignored the stranger.’
    • ‘He whines, whimpers and barks at anything that dares enter our garden, even if it's only birds doing a fly over.’
    • ‘As I walked past, the dogs barked at me, and one lunged at me and bit me on the leg.’
    • ‘The night was still, and not even the dogs barked back.’
    • ‘When I knocked on her door, the dog barked and came to sniff under the door.’
    • ‘Dogs barked at the distance, greeting each other and saying farewell.’
    • ‘The puppies barked at me, they wanted it back, and they were angry!’
    • ‘The dog barked at the girl, baring it's canines threateningly at her.’
    • ‘Dogs barked at the sound of his voice and the words came reverberating back to him.’
    • ‘His older brother, Karl, was in the house but did not realise anything was wrong until he heard the dog barking.’
    • ‘The kids in the village are swarming up and down my road tonight, setting the dogs barking.’
    • ‘At one point you could hear Laci's dog barking in the background.’
    • ‘Neighbours found him after they heard the family dog barking repeatedly.’
    • ‘A mass of dogs rush out barking, jumping up against the car.’
    • ‘The wild dogs started barking and baring their teeth.’
    • ‘The dog barked at the cat and made to steal the cat's food.’
    • ‘A dog barks somewhere off in the floods, but otherwise it's awfully, eerily quiet.’
    • ‘She said: ‘At about 4am, my boyfriend woke up and the dog started barking.’’
    • ‘Car alarms are the most detested noise, followed by folks arguing, dogs barking, loud music, and banging doors.’
    woof, yap, yelp, bay
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a person) make a sound resembling a bark.
      ‘she barked with laughter’
      • ‘There have been a few people barking about the trees that were chopped down in Jordan's Castle.’
      • ‘In one small room a grey-haired jobsworth barked angrily at three tourists who'd dared to point their fingers too close to a minor masterpiece.’
      • ‘Got a surprise ‘Yow’ from the Angry Dawg a moment ago, he was barking from the office.’
      • ‘‘I hear people coming up the stairs,’ Jack barked as the half dragged Motoko to the door.’
      • ‘The new lawyer barks rudely at the old lawyer and the judge.’
      • ‘He looked down at me from his dizzying height, and his sneer drew further across his face as the driver barked a laugh.’
      • ‘He is often barking down the phone complaining about people not pulling their weight.’
      • ‘So we're staying at the Waldorf which is crammed with business people barking into mobile phones.’
      • ‘More or less, this is some old guy barking out of key over the sound that happens when a garbage can gets thrown down a flight of stairs.’
      • ‘Mr Jones barked out: ‘Me and my friend Tony are having a pint so mind your own business.’’
      • ‘The two hours sat listening to an orchestra of mobile phones, into which people barked: ‘I'm stuck on the train’ were enlightening.’
      • ‘The crowd barked, growled and occasionally molested one another.’
      • ‘‘I don't have anything to say about it,’ the Education Secretary barked when his local newspaper asked for his view on the referendum decision on Friday.’
      • ‘Sirius barked a laugh, earning a surprised glanced from the two younger men.’
      • ‘The responding officer barks back, with the concern of a man who could be absorbing a bullet in the chest.’
      • ‘Where men bark at passing forklifts, women hiss and mangle any creature offensive enough to browse for shoes the same size as our own.’
      • ‘It's probably the same feeling that people in Guantánamo Bay have, having had soldiers barking at them in English for two years.’
  • 2with object Utter (a command or question) abruptly or aggressively.

    ‘he began barking out his orders’
    with direct speech ‘‘Nobody is allowed up here,’ he barked’
    • ‘Then, Leslie barked some command, and we all started doing ‘side steps’.’
    • ‘Soon the dazed POWs heard strange voices barking commands in English.’
    • ‘They're the only ones allowed to look sensible and informed as they bark questions at shifty politicians.’
    • ‘I'm halfway to my seat when the substitute teacher barks at me, ‘Sit down, sir!’’
    • ‘But since she's a woman, barking orders left and right, she's suddenly a bad person.’
    • ‘The violent child, who couldn't have been more than four or five, was plucked from the group of children and a sharp command was barked.’
    • ‘Kojiro never did anything except scream and yell and bark orders at everyone he came in contact with.’
    • ‘There was a brief pause before another question was barked with a peculiar undertone to it.’
    • ‘His boss is a brutish oaf who barks orders and commands with little care for his employee's dignity.’
    • ‘Don't bark instructions: Don't shout encouragement like a coach with a megaphone.’
    • ‘Adrian was at my side barking a command of his own.’
    • ‘The coach barked instructions for his players to stay put.’
    • ‘‘Suck it up and get back on the trail,’ the director barked.’
    • ‘But some gift: now anytime anybody barks a command her way, no matter how degrading or destructive, Ella instinctively jumps to the ready.’
    • ‘Often, when I'm at the airport I see long lines at ticket counters and no one using the kiosks until a roving airline agent barks at people to use the machines.’
    • ‘Snapping out from her thoughtful reverie, she barked an order to the warriors under her command.’
    • ‘Unseen in the Vancouver dugout, manager Jack McKeon barked commands into a transmitter.’
    • ‘He barked a command, and the soldiers within the wagon shouted, climbing out of the wagon, their swords long and wide to wield, yet with a devastating blade and strong hilted.’
    • ‘So as I'm talking to a customer, a well-heeled looking but visibly distressed woman barks at me, asking me where the entrance to the pool is.’
    • ‘He terrified her with his brashness and the multiple phones on his desk and the way he would bark, ‘Hello, is that Tokyo?’’
    say brusquely, speak brusquely, say abruptly, speak abruptly, say angrily, speak angrily, snap, snarl, growl
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1US no object Call out in order to sell or advertise something.
      ‘doormen bark at passers-by, promising hot music and cold beer’
      • ‘A"Step right up to the Shootin' Corral fellas, first shot's for free!" he had barked in a greasy rasp at cringing fair-goers who tried to creep by his booth unnoticed,’
      • ‘As the band lets the dueling guitars heat up, Johnson barks like a flea market pitchman, bargaining with wary shoppers for humanism and attention.’
      • ‘The Black Dragon Pool Park was enjoyable,except for the countless vendors barking for my attention.’
      • ‘From a colourful assortment of fruits, vegetables, fish and meats to vendors barking about bargains for anybody who will listen.’

Phrases

  • someone's bark is worse than their bite

    • Someone's fierce and intimidating manner does not reflect their true nature.

      ‘don't worry, her bark is worse than her bite’
      • ‘She gets jealous easily and loves to gossip, but don't worry, her bark is worse than her bite.’
      • ‘Vera is fairly harmless and the inmates and other officers come to view her as a bit of a joke, understanding that her 'bark is worse than her bite'.’
      • ‘Celeste Kane claims her bark is worse than her bite while Keith, not content to let sleeping dogs lie, starts checking out Veronica's pedigree.’
      • ‘They are very gentle dogs, and their bark is worse than their bite.’
      • ‘There’s enough here to prove there’s still plenty of life in the old dog, it’s just that sometimes his bark is worse than his bite.’
      • ‘Her bark is worse than her bite and she is really a very nice person.’
      • ‘She smiled, ‘One of the things he mentioned is that your bark is worse than your bite.’’
      • ‘He may seem very angry but don't worry his bark is worse than his bite.’
      • ‘So maybe I could turn down the confrontation a bit and you could see that my bark is worse than my bite.’
      • ‘While packs of dog-bite lawyers still roam free in California, here in Oregon, their bark is worse than their bite.’
      • ‘Oh, don't mind him, dear, his bark is worse than his bite.’
      • ‘While we'd never suggest that council meetings become dogfights, at Tuesday's Richmond Valley Council Cr Robert Mustow proved his bark is worse than his bite.’
      • ‘Some people say my bark is worse than my bite, but I say you don't want to find out.’
      • ‘On protectionism, Kerry-watchers wager that his bark is worse than his bite.’
    • see bark
      • ‘Crusading journalism's bark is worse than its bite.’
      • ‘If someone's bark is worse than their bite, they get angry and shout and make threats, but don't actually do anything.’
      • ‘Though he does have very strong opinions, I think his bark is worse than his bite and I hear it on good authority he can be won over.’
  • be barking up the wrong tree

    • informal Be pursuing a mistaken or misguided line of thought or course of action.

      ‘his wife thinks he's under suspicion, but I'm sure she's barking up the wrong tree’
      • ‘I could be barking up the wrong tree here, but it's also very likely that my desire to conform is more unhealthy that trying to fit into a concept of uniform societal behaviour.’
      • ‘But if you're - to tell you the truth, David, if you're thinking I care about this particular story, you're barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘We also tried formulating a cunning plan to discourage a girl who's after him and needs to know she's barking up the wrong tree (so to speak).’
      • ‘Correct me if I'm barking up the wrong liberal guilt tree, but I am supposed to believe it's no one's fault if folks are fat - sorry, obese?’
      • ‘‘This would allow people to ring up newspapers and tell them they were barking up the wrong tree, should apologise and should not publish the information,’ said the Mr Kaufman.’
      • ‘And assuming that there had been a positive correlation between such crimes and women dressing, you would still be barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘The ‘homophobia’ is pretty much present in the source material: anybody looking to Burroughs for an uplifting coming-out story is barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘In my opinion, Congress is barking up the wrong tree here.’
      • ‘We're barking up the wrong tree if we think that ‘taxing the rich’ will solve all our problems.’
      • ‘Those claiming that the Tramore AFC youth squad's frenetic programme of matches in such a short period, so close to vital examinations, is due to their cup run are barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘This is interesting and if it's true then we are all barking up the wrong tree with this discussion of ‘values.’’
      • ‘The controversy that is now starting up about the tactics the Russian authorities used in freeing the Moscow hostages is just the media barking up the wrong tree as usual.’
      • ‘‘It seems a shame that people who live in the town feel the same way but on the other hand it proves I was not barking up the wrong tree,’ he said.’
      • ‘We feel we are tantalizing close to a complete unified theory, but we might be miles away or barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘If they don't look at that seriously, we were barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘See how the how The Age's Stephen Bartholomeusz responds when he believes Herald Sun hack Terry McCrann is barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘‘Countries, including Jamaica, are barking up the wrong tree if they expect continuation of preferential treatment in a time of increased competition among states,’ said the Jamaica Gleaner.’
      • ‘Let's be clear here - no-one is predicting that violence will cease due to this capture so harping on about that is an exercise in barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘Perhaps social critics are simply barking up the wrong tree.’
      • ‘However, pardon my pun, but I think he's barking up the wrong tree when he says that ‘marriage is the sapling and family the fully grown tree.’’

Origin

Old English beorc (noun), beorcan (verb), of Germanic origin; possibly related to break.

Pronunciation

bark

/bɑːk/

Main definitions of bark in English

: bark1bark2bark3

bark2

noun

mass noun
  • 1The tough protective outer sheath of the trunk, branches, and twigs of a tree or woody shrub.

    ‘beavers feed on leaves and the living bark of trees’
    • ‘The beetle normally hatches in August and then spends the winter, dormant, in larvae beneath the bark.’
    • ‘Later in the season, the caterpillars re-emerge to spin cocoons and overwinter under the loose bark of the trees.’
    • ‘Visitors also have a chance to taste tambelo, a grub that lives inside the bark of mangroves.’
    • ‘I leaned onto the rough bark of the tree branch, wondering if that what a good thing.’
    • ‘I started to look on the ground around the tree for fallen bark and branches, and what I saw was a veritable goldmine of wood that would be just the thing for the huts.’
    • ‘We sheltered under the shade of the massive overwhelming oak trees whose bark was protected from vandalism by vicious spikes forced into the trunk.’
    • ‘On the outer bark of the tree are brown spots, said to resemble the rust spots of nails.’
    • ‘As her focus was shifted slightly from her path, a tree stood stationary as she collided into the sharp bark.’
    • ‘They allow me to operate at a comfortable standing position and to feel around before snipping, avoiding damage to the bark of the hedge itself.’
    • ‘Rhea pressed her hands against the trunk of a tree, it's bark smooth and gray-green.’
    • ‘Dropping with my back against the tree, the sharp edges of the bark cut my hands in several places.’
    • ‘The guava has a bark of smooth brown that flakes off from time to time revealing its sensuous green undergarment.’
    • ‘Despite being a tree with relatively smooth bark, the branch flexed a little and scraped at his palms.’
    • ‘The many foresters in the group moved slowly as well, squinting up at the crowns of the trees, feeling bark and leaves and identifying the many species we walked among.’
    • ‘The woodpeckers peel large chunks of bark off of dead trees while foraging for insects.’
    • ‘Being leaf eaters, they eat a great deal of leaves, fruits, twigs, and tree bark; they have chambered stomachs.’
    • ‘This kind of older tree bark was removed easily by hand.’
    • ‘The tree's bark has started to peel, a sure sign that it is dying, Griffiths adds.’
    • ‘They assume the form of inanimate objects such as bird droppings, tree bark and leaves to protect themselves.’
    • ‘The trees still had brown bark and bright green leaves, but the blossoms were blue, purple, silver, all at once.’
    rind, skin, peel, sheath, covering, outer layer, coating, casing, crust
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bark used for tanning leather, making dyestuffs, or as a mulch in gardening.
      ‘top-dress lime-hating shrubs with bark’
      • ‘The fabric or plastic is laid on top of the soil and then covered with a layer of bark chips.’
      • ‘Two inches of bark chips or cocoa shells make a good mulch for a bed of heathers.’
      • ‘Mulch with grass clippings, well rotted manure, ground bark or pine needles.’
      • ‘Don't allow bark around moth orchid roots to dry completely.’
      • ‘To avoid this problem in the future, in fall after the ground has frozen, mulch the planting with 2 to 4 inches of bark.’
      • ‘I took the tree guards off to let the hens have a root around, then cleared the grass from around the tree, top dressed with bonemeal, added a good mulch of bark and replaced the guards.’
      • ‘Fresh paint has been applied, and pathways have been lined with bark chips, new trees and shrubs.’
      • ‘If your garden lacks good drainage, work fully composted pine or fir bark or a similar organic amendment into the soil.’
      • ‘Dressing the final layer of soil with mulch or bark will help retain water.’
      • ‘Use compost or composted fir bark approximately 30 percent by volume.’
      • ‘Use a premixed potting soil, usually composed of sand, peat moss, fine bark, perlite or vermiculite.’
      • ‘After that, because the soil level usually sinks a little during the growing season, I top it off in late winter with an inch of fine bark mulch.’
      • ‘When planting, ensure the shrubs establish quickly by thoroughly soaking the rootballs and covering the ground with a thick mulch of bark chippings.’
      • ‘Shredded bark, as opposed to nuggets or chips, provides the best coverage and, in my opinion, looks the best.’
      • ‘Maintain soil moisture and keep roots warm in winter and cool in summer with a mulch of pine needles or pine bark.’
      • ‘Outside, the treated material was covered by a thick layer of tree waste, like bark and sawdust, to remove odours from the compost.’
      • ‘I've bought 15 bags of bark, on special offer at the garden centre, to cover the soil and keep it maintenance-free.’
      • ‘As a mulch, bark is a boon, but its colour can make for a drab garden in winter.’
      • ‘If I mulch heavily during the flood season, I end up with a yard full of evergreen boughs and a garden choked with soggy bark.’
      • ‘I've staked the broad beans and begun mulching with mini bark chips to keep the weeds down and the soil moist now that it's wet.’
  • 2with modifier Thin sheets of chocolate topped with ingredients such as nuts, confectionery, and dried fruit and broken into irregularly shaped pieces.

    ‘white chocolate bark studded with cranberries and pistachios’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1British Strip the bark from (a tree or piece of wood)

    ‘they had to be barked by hand, you couldn't peel them the way you can newly cut wood’
    • ‘The others barked the logs, the sawing was done, and each one of the nine men received two wagon loads of good lumber for his share.’
    • ‘We felled trees for posts and beams using an old Royal Chinook two-person falling saw and then barked the logs with large drawknives.’
    • ‘When the celebrations reached their height, initiates climbed nine-foot trees that were barked and notched to form ladders.’
    1. 1.1 Scrape the skin off (one's shin) by accidentally hitting it against something hard.
      ‘it's pitch black—I barked my shin and took a tumble in a nettle bed’
      • ‘I barked my shin soundly on the sharp edge of her new shoe rack.’
      • ‘She barked her shin on the coffee table in her haste to get to the bathroom.’
      • ‘I scraped off a good bit of skin on my right forearm, barked my shin, and nicked up my right knee.’
      • ‘But, when you tumble over and bark your shins, you are less than enamoured by gravity.’
      • ‘He barked his shin on a hidden stump and swore softly but continued on toward the scrap.’
      • ‘Desperate for a wee, he did two laps of the living room barking his shins and becoming increasingly panicky before finally locating the light switch and making good his escape.’
      • ‘But the room was tiny and I barked my shin on one thing or another repeatedly.’
      • ‘I barked my knees and shins several times on the way, but before long I found myself standing at the viewing area.’
      • ‘She barked her shin painfully on the "bench" rock, and her legs gave out, so that she sprawled ungracefully over it.’
      • ‘I thought to myself "Man, I'm going to have an ugly bruise where I barked my shin today."’
      • ‘Behind her, Tian stumbled forward with a neck-snapping jerk and barked his shin on another rock, one he hadn't seen and the plow had, for a wonder, missed.’
      • ‘Moving blindly, he barked his shin, found the railing and climbed the steps.’
      • ‘At least, I barked my shin against something solid.’
      • ‘A doctor from Olaf Tryggvason went aboard, but all he could find by way of sickness was a man who had barked his shin on a barrel.’
      scrape, graze, scratch, abrade, scuff, rasp, skin, rub something raw
      View synonyms
  • 2technical Tan or dye (leather or other materials) using the tannins found in bark.

    • ‘He would use varnish and cottonseed oil and some ink black to bark the grain in the wood.’

Origin

Middle English: from Old Norse bǫrkr; perhaps related to birch.

Pronunciation

bark

/bɑːk/

Main definitions of bark in English

: bark1bark2bark3

bark3

noun

literary, archaic
  • A ship or boat.

    • ‘On an indictment for manslaughter it appeared that the prisoner was a pilot, and was on board a Portuguese barque sailing down the Thames.’
    • ‘If this journey included a trip on the Nile, the golden barque was put on a papyriform transport boat and taken to its destination.’
    • ‘Our NOVA team, which coalesced in Giza last night, was immersed in that story today as we examined and filmed the famous Solar Barque of Khufu.’

Origin

Late Middle English: variant of barque.

Pronunciation

bark

/bɑːk/