bark up the wrong tree

bark up the wrong tree
or be barking up the wrong tree


  • 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.


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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B 6 Thoughts

6 Thoughts

Well, I think one can understand the origin of this idiom with the fact that here Bark stands for the outermost skin of the stem (छाल) of a tree, it’s not barking of a dog. If Ram is asked to bring the bark of a Neem (नीम) tree for medicinal uses, and he brings the bark of some other tree, then this idiom comes into play that you have barked up the wrong tree.

- Mukesh October 6, 2020

I disagree. The sentences are intricately and well put together. It’s perfectly helpful

- Isaac February 4, 2020

Make sentence more shorter

- Anonymous January 14, 2019

Please make your sentences shorter and make them focus more on the idiom. Tag if u agree guys.

- Mahua Ray July 3, 2018

Thank you
The origin was very helpful.

- Re5trd March 5, 2018

Your sentences need to be shorter otherwise everything else is fine

- Diivyansh November 11, 2017

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