hark(en) back to (something)(redirected from harken back to)
hark(en) back to (something)
1. To cause one to think of or recall something. (The spelling "harken" is actually a variant of the archaic word "hearken," which originally meant "to listen" but is more commonly used in place of "hark" in this idiomatic phrase.) That song harkens back to an earlier time in my life.
2. To have originated or begun as something. You know, our modern cell phones hark back to those old rotary phones you like to make fun of.
3. To revisit or recall something mentioned earlier. Before we get too upset, let's all harken back to the real reason we're here today.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
hark(en) back to something
1. to have originated as something; to have started out as something. (Harken is an older word meaning "pay heed to.") The word icebox harks back to refrigerators that were cooled by ice. Our modern breakfast cereals hark back to the porridge and gruel of our ancestors.
2. to remind one of something. Seeing a horse and buggy in the park harks back to the time when horses drew milk wagons. Sally says it harkens back to the time when everything was delivered by horse-drawn wagons.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Return to a previous point, as in Let us hark back briefly to my first statement. This expression originally alluded to hounds retracing their course when they have lost their quarry's scent. It may be dying out. [First half of 1800s]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.