hark(en) back to (something)

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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.
See also: back, to
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.
See also: back, hark, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

hark back

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]
See also: back, hark
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
His "Home Improvement" role harkened back to his roots in entertainment: Pete was part of a company band, using an ad hoc drum set made up of empty plastic fuel cans and with screwdrivers as sticks.
But for others, it harkened back to a dark period in its past: Many civil rights activists interpreted his motto--"Keep Dearborn Clean"--as "Keep Dearborn White."
One commenter harkened back to the Star Wars films for some biting contempt:
At the recent Home + Housewares Show, it harkened back to the old days with its Heritage plaid tin lunch box, right.
The Gateshead FC players harkened back to the decade that taste forgot with a series of "hair-don'ts".
24 at the age of 90 harkened back to a time when there was still some morality left in Canadian jurisprudence.
Adler, who repeatedly harkened back to his modest potter roots, has expansion on the mind with new retail locations a top priority.
An elegant little aircraft, whose lines harkened back to the earlier Pup single-seater from the same manufacturer, the Tripe offered splendid maneuverability and excellent cockpit visibility.
Long, complex pieces like The Invisible Man harkened back to their progressive rock roots, but Don't Hurt Yourself, the new single out this week, showed that they can still write a chart-friendly song.
To find inspiration in designing North Bay's Regional Health Centre, architect Brian Bertrand harkened back to his medal-winning university thesis.
The writers could have harkened back to Alva Vanderbilt's $250,000 ball in 1883 or the formal dinners that Newporters threw for their dogs at the turn of the century.
The titular statement harkened back to a few years earlier when Ruscha told Cort that he stumbled upon a theater in Switzerland that was screening three of the actor's films in what he dubbed a "Cort retrospective." To that, the thesp quipped, "I don't want no retrospective."