be barking up the wrong tree

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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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