Bark Up the Wrong Tree

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To have a wrong guess or idea about someone or some situation, efforts and attentions being diverted in a wrong direction


  • The origins of this idiom are very interesting and they link to the colonial times in America. During raccoon hunting dogs would bark up a certain tree, on which a raccoon was present. Quite often the raccoon would jump on to different tree branches till the hunter came. This left the dog barking up the wrong tree and the hunter would keep on looking up the tree for any raccoons.

John’s father wanted to make him an architect, but he was barking up the wrong tree.

Submitted on February 25, 2019

Additional definitions for 'Bark Up the Wrong Tree':

bark up the wrong treeTo attempt or pursue the wrong thing; to take the wrong approach; to follow a false lead.
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  1. Alex
    US English

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