"utter an abrupt, explosive cry" (especially of dogs), Middle English berken (c. 1200), bark (late 15c.), from Old English beorcan "to bark," from Proto-Germanic *berkan (source also of Old Norse berkja "to bark"), of echoic origin. Related: Barked; barking. To bark at the moon "complain uselessly" is from 1650s. To bark up the wrong tree "mistake one's object, attack or pursue something other than what is intended" is U.S. colloquial, first attested 1832, from notion of hounds following the wrong scent.