take the bark off

take the bark off

To whip or otherwise punish someone. The phrase initially referred to striking someone so hard as to cut the skin. Primarily heard in US. That boy didn't do any of his chores around this farm today and still went off with his friends. I'm going to take the bark off him once he gets home! If we had to get in trouble with a teacher, at least it's with Mr. Wright—he's nice and won't take the bark off us.
See also: bark, off, take