barb

noun (1)
\ˈbärb \

Definition of barb 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : a medieval cloth headdress passing over or under the chin and covering the neck

2a : a sharp projection extending backward (as from the point of an arrow or fishhook) and preventing easy extraction also : a sharp projection with its point similarly oblique to something else

b : a biting or pointedly critical remark or comment

4 : any of the side branches of the shaft of a feather — see feather illustration

5 : a plant hair or bristle ending in a hook

barb

verb
barbed; barbing; barbs

Definition of barb (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

: to furnish with a barb

barb

noun (2)

Definition of barb (Entry 3 of 4)

: any of a northern African breed of horses that are noted for speed and endurance

barb

noun (3)

Definition of barb (Entry 4 of 4)

slang

Other Words from barb

Noun (1)

barbless \ ˈbärb-​ləs \ adjective

First Known Use of barb

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1759, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

circa 1610, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1967, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for barb

Noun (1)

Middle English barbe barb, beard, from Anglo-French, from Latin barba — more at beard

Noun (2)

French barbe, from Italian barbero, from barbero of Barbary, from Barberia Barbary, coastal region in Africa

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about barb

Statistics for barb

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for barb

The first known use of barb was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for barb

barb

noun
\ˈbärb \

Kids Definition of barb

: a sharp point that sticks out and backward (as from the tip of an arrow or fishhook)

Other Words from barb

barbed \ ˈbärbd \ adjective

barb

noun
\ˈbärb \

Medical Definition of barb 

slang

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on barb

What made you want to look up barb? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to clear from alleged fault or guilt

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!