Telling someone to drop dead is an example of a barb.
- a thin, somewhat beardlike growth near the mouth of certain animals, as the barbel of a fish
- a piece of white linen for covering the throat and sometimes the chin, worn by certain nuns
- a sharp point curving or projecting in an opposite direction from the main point of a fishhook, arrow, etc.
- a cutting remark
- one of the hairlike branches on the shaft of a feather
- Bot. a hooked hair or bristle
Origin of barbMiddle English and Old French barbe from Classical Latin barba, beard
- a horse of a breed native to N Africa, noted for speed and strength
- a breed of pigeon similar to the carrier pigeon
Origin of barbFrench barbe, Barbary horse from Italian barbero from Arabic Barbar, Berber
- A sharp point projecting in reverse direction to the main point of a weapon or tool, as on an arrow or fishhook.
- A cutting remark.
- Zoology A small, sharp point projecting in reverse direction from the tip, as on a porcupine quill or a bee sting.
- Zoology One of the parallel filaments projecting from the main shaft of a feather.
- Botany A short, sharp, reflexed bristle or hairlike projection.
- See barbel1.
- Any of various Old World freshwater fishes of the genera Barbus, Puntius, and related genera of the family Cyprinidae.
- A linen covering for a woman's head, throat, and chin worn in medieval times.
transitive verbbarbed, barb·ing, barbs
Origin of barbMiddle English barbe from Old French beard from Latin barba ; see bhardh-ā- in Indo-European roots.
- A horse of a breed introduced by the Moors into Spain from northern Africa that has high withers and an arched neck and is known for its speed and endurance.
- Any of a breed of domestic pigeon that has prominent wattles around the eyes.
Origin of barbFrench barbe from Italian barbero Berber from Vulgar LatinBarbaria , Barbary States from Latin barbarus barbarous ; see barbarous .
- The point that stands backward in an arrow, fishhook, etc., to prevent it from being easily extracted. Hence: Anything which stands out with a sharp point obliquely or crosswise to something else.
- (figuratively) A hurtful or disparaging remark.
- A beard, or that which resembles it, or grows in the place of it.
- Armor for a horse, corrupted from bard.
- (ornithology) One of the side branches of a feather, which collectively constitute the vane.
- (zoology) Several species of freshwater fish of the cyprinid family.
- (zoology) A southern name for the kingfishes of the eastern and southeastern coasts of the United States; also improperly called whiting.
- (botany) A hair or bristle ending in a double hook.
- (zoology) A blackish or dun variety of the pigeon, originally brought from Barbary.
- Paps, or little projections, of the mucous membrane, which mark the opening of the submaxillary glands under the tongue in horses and cattle. The name is mostly applied when the barbs are inflamed and swollen. [Written also barbel and barble.]
- A plastic fastener, shaped roughly like a capital I (with serifs), used to attach socks etc. to their packaging.
(third-person singular simple present barbs, present participle barbing, simple past and past participle barbed)
From Old French barbe (“beard, beard-like element”)
From Barbary, by shortening
- (law) Abbreviation of Barbados.
This is the customary abbreviation of this term as used in case citations. See, e.g., The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation, Nineteenth Edition (2010), "Geographical Terms: Foreign countries and regions", Table T10.3, p. 438-443.