bark

1 of 5

verb (1)

barked; barking; barks

intransitive verb

1
a
: to make the characteristic short loud cry of a dog
b
: to make a noise resembling a bark
2
: to speak in a curt loud and usually angry tone : snap
3
informal : to produce a usually sharp, sudden pain
… at 36 and with his mustache turning gray and his body barking back in pain, Luis DeLeon is in spring training with the Cubs.Joseph A. Reaves
The shoulder is pain-free for now, but his elbow barks at him occasionally …Mike Lupica

transitive verb

1
: to utter in a curt loud usually angry tone
an officer barking orders
2
: to advertise by persistent outcry
barking their wares

bark

2 of 5

noun (1)

1
a
: the sound made by a barking dog
b
: a similar sound
2
: a short sharp peremptory tone of speech or utterance

bark

3 of 5

noun (2)

1
: the tough exterior covering of a woody root or stem
specifically : the tissues outside the cambium that include an inner layer especially of secondary phloem and an outer layer of periderm
2
3
: a candy containing chocolate and nuts that is made in a sheet and broken into pieces

bark

4 of 5

verb (2)

barked; barking; barks

transitive verb

1
: to treat with an infusion of tanbark
2
a
: to strip the bark from
b
: to rub off or abrade the skin of
barked a shin on the desk

bark

5 of 5

noun (3)

variants or barque
1
a
: a small sailing ship
b
: a sailing ship of three or more masts with the aftmost mast fore-and-aft rigged and the others square-rigged
2
: a craft propelled by sails or oars
Phrases
bark up the wrong tree
: to promote or follow a mistaken course (as in doing research)
someone's bark is worse than his/her bite
used to say that someone known for harsh or angry speech does not actually treat others in an unfairly harsh or harmful way
Chairman Paul Millership was larger than life and shouted his orders loud and clear. But his bark was worse than his bite and he was scrupulously fair to employees who put in the effort.The Nottingham Evening Post

Examples of bark in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
There was no mastermind at its center; Q barked out his pronouncements, but was no more real than the Wizard of Oz. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 6 Apr. 2024 My dog started barking and running down the hallway, like, mom, the earth is shaking, get your ass up and run with me. Joey Nolfi, EW.com, 5 Apr. 2024 That year, Jo said, boys would bark at them, make lewd gestures, and use homophobic and transphobic slurs, and adults rarely intervened. Jessica Winter, The New Yorker, 3 Apr. 2024 Winn was one of the young pitchers the Giants had earmarked spots for in their rotation, along with Kyle Harrison and Tristan Beck, but shortly into camp he was shut down out of precaution when his elbow started barking after a bullpen session. Evan Webeck, The Mercury News, 17 Mar. 2024 Martin’s key innovation came in subverting the indicators other comics used to tell people when to bark their approval. Peter Debruge, Variety, 26 Mar. 2024 And right then, South recalled the dog that didn’t bark. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 21 Mar. 2024 For example, there's a night scene when Arthur barks Lassie-like to stop Michael from walking over a sheer cliff just feet away. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, 16 Mar. 2024 The barking dogs scrambling around our feet don’t really help. Jonah Gercke, SPIN, 15 Mar. 2024
Noun
With exfoliating cinnamon-brown bark and fragrant white flower clusters, what’s not to love? Betty Cahill, The Denver Post, 7 Apr. 2024 My hope is like a Greek myth: exchanging skin for bark, bark for scales, scales for the hollow bones of a bird. Jane Hirshfield, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 These forests are also ecological substrates for other forms of life —- on Earth, plants, animals of all sorts, fungi and bacteria all live on their bark, shoots, trunks, leaves, roots, flowers, and fruits, says Mendonca. Bruce Dorminey, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 The agency says to watch out for the masses during late fall, winter, and early spring, and they can be found on outdoor surfaces like tree bark, cars, and items kept outside. Sarah Al-Arshani, USA TODAY, 27 Mar. 2024 Texture To add a little dramatic flair to their cakes, couples are choosing to incorporate visually striking textures that range from simple stencil patterns to more abstract elements resembling waves, tree bark, flower petals and more. Erin Clack, Peoplemag, 21 Mar. 2024 Freshly ground hardwood bark frequently forms a water-shedding mat in the dry summer. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 8 Mar. 2024 The American Spice Trade Association, an industry trade group, calls for no more than 2 parts per million of lead in bark spices such as cinnamon. Jonel Aleccia, Quartz, 8 Mar. 2024 The resort's signature cocktail, the Tramuntana, combines herbs from its organic garden with the obscure (to outsiders) local liqueur called Palo de Mallorca—a bitter remedy beloved by Mallorcan connoisseurs that contains cinchona bark and gentian root. Tony Perrottet, Condé Nast Traveler, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bark.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

Middle English berken, from Old English beorcan; akin to Old Norse berkja to bark, Lithuanian burgėti to growl

Noun (2)

Middle English, from Old Norse bark-, bǫrkr; akin to Middle Dutch & Middle Low German borke bark

Noun (3)

Middle English, from Middle French barque, from Old Occitan barca, from Late Latin

First Known Use

Verb (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of bark was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near bark

Cite this Entry

“Bark.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bark. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

bark

1 of 5 verb
1
: to make the short loud cry of a dog or a similar noise
2
: to shout or speak sharply
bark out an order

bark

2 of 5 noun
: the sound made by a barking dog

bark

3 of 5 noun
: the tough covering of a woody root or stem

bark

4 of 5 verb
1
: to strip the bark from
2
: to rub or scrape the skin of
barked her knee

bark

5 of 5 noun
variants or barque
1
: a small sailing ship
2
: a three-masted ship with the first two masts square-rigged and the last fore-and-aft rigged
Etymology

Verb

Old English beorcan "to bark"

Noun

Middle English bark "tree covering," of Scandinavian origin

Noun

Middle English bark "a small ship," from early French barque (same meaning)

Medical Definition

bark

noun
1
: the tough exterior covering of a woody root or stem
2

More from Merriam-Webster on bark

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