be barking up the wrong tree

be barking up the wrong tree

To be attempting or pursuing 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 was barking up the wrong tree when I applied to such good colleges with my average grades.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

be barking up the wrong tree

If someone is barking up the wrong tree, they are following the wrong course of action because their beliefs about something are not correct. Scientists in Switzerland realised that most other researchers had been barking up the wrong tree. Nobby, we've been barking up the wrong tree! We should have been looking for something green! Note: This expression comes from raccoon hunting, which takes place at night. Dogs that are trained to show where raccoons are hiding by barking sometimes indicate the wrong tree.
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong

be barking up the wrong ˈtree

be mistaken about something: The police are barking up the wrong tree if they think I had anything to do with the crime. I wasn’t even in the country when it happened!
See also: bark, tree, up, wrong
References in periodicals archive ?
THERE are sure to be some shocks in the FA Cup first round but ESPN might be barking up the wrong tree by fixing the cameras on today's clash between Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers Newport and League Two highflyers Shrewsbury.
LEICESTER manager Martin O'Neill is tracking Swedish star Lars Gunnar Carlstrand but he could be barking up the wrong tree.
Conservationists who seek to preserve the North American red wolf as a unique species may be barking up the wrong tree.
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