bark up the wrong tree

(redirected from barked up the wrong tree)

bark up the wrong tree

To attempt or pursue a futile course of action, often by making some kind of suggestion or request. If you think I'll help you cheat, you're definitely barking up the wrong tree! I barked up the wrong tree when I applied to such good colleges with my average grades.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

bark up the wrong tree

Fig. to make the wrong choice; to ask the wrong person; to follow the wrong course. (Alludes to a dog in pursuit of an animal, where the animal is in one tree and the dog is barking at another tree.) If you think I'm the guilty person, you're barking up the wrong tree. The hitters blamed the team's bad record on the pitchers, but they were barking up the wrong tree.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

bark up the wrong tree

Waste one's efforts by pursuing the wrong thing or path, as in If you think I can come up with more money, you're barking up the wrong tree. This term comes from the nocturnal pursuit of raccoon-hunting with the aid of dogs. Occasionally a raccoon fools the dogs, which crowd around a tree, barking loudly, not realizing their quarry has taken a different route. [Early 1800s]
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

bark up the wrong tree

pursue a mistaken or misguided line of thought or course of action. informal
The metaphor is of a dog that has mistaken the tree in which its quarry has taken refuge and is barking at the foot of the wrong one.
1969 Arnold Bennett Forty Years On For sovereign states to conclude agreements on the basis of a mutual fondness for dogs seems to me to be barking up the wrong tree.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

bark up the wrong tree

To misdirect one's energies or attention.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong