bark up the wrong tree

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To attempt or pursue the wrong thing; to take the wrong approach; to follow a false lead.

Etymology:

  • An allusion to a situation in which a hunting dog misidentifies the tree up which it has chased an animal and positions itself at the base of another tree, barking upward at the branches.
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If you think you're going to get him to agree just by asking, you're barking up the wrong tree.

Submitted on September 01, 2009

Additional definitions for 'bark up the wrong tree':

Bark Up the Wrong TreeTo have a wrong guess or idea about someone or some situation, efforts and attentions being diverted in a wrong direction
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"bark up the wrong tree." Phrases.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 18 Nov. 2019. <https://www.phrases.com/phrase/bark-up-the-wrong-tree_2227>.

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