barb Definition

  • 1a sharp projection near the end of an arrow, fishhook, or similar item
  • 2a cutting remark
  • 3a beardlike growth on certain animals

Using barb: Examples

Take a moment to familiarize yourself with how "barb" can be used in various situations through the following examples!

  • Example

    The barb on the arrowhead made it difficult to remove from the target.

  • Example

    She couldn't resist making a barb about his fashion sense.

  • Example

    The porcupine's barbs are used for self-defense.

barb Synonyms and Antonyms

Synonyms for barb

Antonyms for barb

Idioms Using barb

  • to experience the unpleasant effects of something


    He felt the barb of her criticism and became defensive.

  • barb one's words

    to speak in a way that is intentionally hurtful or critical


    She tends to barb her words when she's angry.

  • to make something less hurtful or offensive


    He tried to take the barb out of his comment by adding a smiley face emoji.

Phrases with barb

  • a type of fencing wire constructed with sharp edges or points arranged at intervals along the strand(s)


    The farmer put up barbed wire around the perimeter of his property.

  • a cutting or sarcastic remark intended to hurt or offend someone


    He couldn't resist making a barbed comment about her weight.

  • a fishhook with a sharp projection near the end to prevent the fish from escaping once caught


    He baited the barbed hook and cast his line into the water.

Origins of barb

from Old French 'barbe', meaning 'beard'


Summary: barb in Brief

The term 'barb' [bɑːb] refers to a sharp projection on an object, such as an arrow or fishhook, or a cutting remark. It can also refer to a beardlike growth on certain animals. Phrases like 'barbed wire' and 'barbed comment' extend its usage, while idioms like 'feel the barb of something' and 'barb one's words' denote the hurtful or critical nature of the term.

How do native speakers use this expression?