Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sharp point projecting in reverse direction to the main point of a weapon or tool, as on an arrow or fishhook.
  • n. A cutting remark.
  • n. Zoology One of the parallel filaments projecting from the main shaft of a feather.
  • n. Botany A short, sharply hooked bristle or hairlike projection.
  • n. See barbel1.
  • n. Any of various Old World freshwater fishes of the genus Barbus or Puntius and related genera.
  • n. A linen covering for a woman's head, throat, and chin worn in medieval times.
  • transitive v. To provide or furnish with a barb.
  • n. A horse of a breed introduced by the Moors into Spain from northern Africa that resembles the Arabians and is known for its speed and endurance.
  • n. One of a breed of domestic pigeons that is similar to the carrier and has dark plumage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. 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.
  • n. A hurtful or disparaging remark.
  • n. A beard, or that which resembles it, or grows in the place of it.
  • n. Armor for a horse, corrupted from bard.
  • n. One of the side branches of a feather, which collectively constitute the vane.
  • n. Several species of freshwater fish of the cyprinid family.
  • n. A southern name for the kingfishes of the eastern and southeastern coasts of the United States; -- also improperly called whiting.
  • n. A hair or bristle ending in a double hook.
  • n. A blackish or dun variety of the pigeon, originally brought from Barbary.
  • n. A muffler, worn by nuns and mourners.
  • n. A bit for a horse.
  • n. A plastic fastener, shaped roughly like a capital I (with serifs), used to attach socks etc. to their packaging.
  • v. To furnish with barbs, or with that which will hold or hurt like barbs, as an arrow, fishhook, spear, etc.
  • v. To cover a horse in armor, corrupted from bard.
  • v. To shave or dress the beard of.
  • v. To clip; to mow.
  • n. The Barbary horse, a superior breed introduces from Barbary into Spain by the Moors.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Beard, or that which resembles it, or grows in the place of it.
  • n. A muffler, worn by nuns and mourners.
  • n. 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.
  • n. 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.
  • n. A bit for a horse.
  • n. One of the side branches of a feather, which collectively constitute the vane. See Feather.
  • n. A southern name for the kingfishes of the eastern and southeastern coasts of the United States; -- also improperly called whiting.
  • n. A hair or bristle ending in a double hook.
  • n. The Barbary horse, a superior breed introduced from Barbary into Spain by the Moors.
  • n. A blackish or dun variety of the pigeon, originally brought from Barbary.
  • n. Armor for a horse. Same as 2d bard, n., 1.
  • transitive v. To shave or dress the beard of.
  • transitive v. To clip; to mow.
  • transitive v. To furnish with barbs, or with that which will hold or hurt like barbs, as an arrow, fishhook, spear, etc.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To shave; dress the beard.
  • To pare or shave close to the surface; mow.
  • To clip, as gold.
  • To furnish with barbs, as an arrow, fish-hook, spear, or other instrument.
  • To shave.
  • Same as bard, verb
  • To bend or hook the points of wire teeth in the card-clothing used in carding textile fibers.
  • n. A beard; anything which resembles a beard or grows in the place of it.
  • n. In botany, a terminal tuft of hairs; a beard; more usually, a retrorse tooth or double tooth terminating an awn or prickle.
  • n. In ornithology, one of the processes, of the first order, given off by the rachis of a feather.
  • n. One of the sharp points projecting backward from the penetrating extremity of an arrow, fish-hook, or other instrument for piercing, intended to fix it in place; a beard.
  • n. A linen covering for the throat and breast, sometimes also for the lower part of the face, worn by women throughout the middle ages in western Europe. It was at times peculiar to nuns or women in mourning.
  • n. A band or small scarf of lace, or other fine material, worn by women at the neck or as a headdress.
  • n. Same as barbel, 3.
  • n. In heraldry, one of the five leaves of the calyx which project beyond and between the petals of the heraldic rose. See barbed, 3.
  • n. A bur or roughness produced in the course of metal-working, as in coining and engraving.
  • n. A military term used in the phrase to fire in barb, in barbette, or en barbe, that is, to fire cannon over the parapet instead of through the embrasures.
  • n. Also spelled barbe.
  • n. Same as bard, n.
  • n. A horse of the breed introduced by the Moors into Spain from Barbary and Morocco, and remarkable for speed, endurance, and docility.
  • n. A breed of domestic pigeons having a short broad beak, classed by Darwin with the carriers and runts. Also called barb-pigeon, Barbary pigeon, and Barbary carrier.
  • n. A sciænoid fish, Menticirrus alburnus, better known as kingfish. See kingfish.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. provide with barbs
  • n. the pointed part of barbed wire
  • n. an aggressive remark directed at a person like a missile and intended to have a telling effect
  • n. one of the parallel filaments projecting from the main shaft of a feather
  • n. a subsidiary point facing opposite from the main point that makes an arrowhead or spear hard to remove

Etymologies

Middle English barbe, from Old French, beard, from Latin barba; see bhardh-ā- in Indo-European roots.
French barbe, from Italian barbero, Berber, from Vulgar Latin Barbaria, Barbary States, from Latin barbarus, barbarous; see barbarous.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French barbe ("beard, beard-like element") (Wiktionary)
From Barbary, by shortening (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • "She barbs with wit those darts too keen before: —"
    Sheridan, School for Scandal

    January 2, 2008