English > ESL Idioms Index

Online ESL Idioms
An online collection of common English idioms.


This is an especially humorous English phrase because of the word “bark” being used in the same phrase with the word “tree.” While “bark” is a word for the outer layer of a tree, the “barking” here actually refers to the action of a dog barking. When a dog chases a squirrel or similar animal that runs up a tree, a dog occasionally chooses the wrong tree to bark at.

A person may also conceptually choose a tree or path that is not as effective as another for what the person wants to accomplish. Here is an example to better clarify: “He was barking up the wrong tree when he tried to use a screwdriver with nails.”

Many Thanks for Using ESL Idioms from 1-language.com.