Idioms

Learn idioms with comprehensive meaning, examples and origin details.

Idioms

bark up the wrong tree

bark up the wrong tree

also be barking up the wrong tree

Meaning

  • waste one’s efforts by pursuing the wrong thing or path
  • to make a wrong choice
  • make a mistake or wrong assumption in something you are trying to achieve
  • take a wrong approach to something

Example Sentences

  1. It was a very sensitive case and yet for over one year the investigators kept barking up the wrong tree.
  2. If you think you will solve the problem by following those steps, you are barking up the wrong tree.
  3. I am not the person who spread those rumours about you, you are barking up the wrong tree.
  4. I had kept telling you all along that you are barking up the wrong tree, yet you did not pay any heed and continued doing it.
  5. I think they are barking up the wrong tree by focusing on the problems they have. They should focus on the solutions instead.
  6. Now I realize what a con artist he was! All along he was misleading us and we were all barking up the wrong tree.
  7. The police were barking up the wrong tree by trying to prove that person guilty. He was no where near the crime scene.

Origin
This phrase originated in the US and alludes to hunting dogs barking under a tree where they mistakenly think their prey is hiding. The first known usage in print was in James Kirke Paulding’s novel Westward Ho! in 1832.

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