AskDefine | Define bark

Dictionary Definition



1 tough protective covering of the woody stems and roots of trees and other woody plants
2 a noise resembling the bark of a dog
3 a sailing ship with 3 (or more) masts [syn: barque]
4 the sound made by a dog


1 speak in an unfriendly tone; "She barked into the dictaphone"
2 cover with bark
3 remove the bark of a tree [syn: skin]
4 make barking sounds; "The dogs barked at the stranger"
5 tan (a skin) with bark tannins

User Contributed Dictionary

see Bark



Etymology 1

From the etyl enm bark, from the etyl non bǫrkr, from the , probably related to , from , from the . Akin to Danish, Norwegian and Swedish bark, Icelandic börkr, and Low German borke.


  1. countable uncountable The exterior covering of the trunk and branches of a tree; the rind.
  2. Peruvian Bark or Jesuit's bark, the bark of the cinchona from which quinine is produced.
Usage notes
Usually uncountable; bark may be countable when referring to the barks of different types of tree.
Related terms
exterior covering of a tree
in medicine: Peruvian Bark


  1. To strip the bark from; to peel.
  2. To abrade or rub off any outer covering from.
    to bark one’s heel
  3. To girdle.
  4. To cover or inclose with bark, or as with bark.
    bark the roof of a hut
Derived terms
To strip the bark from, to peel
To abrade or rub off any outer covering from
To girdle
See girdle.
To cover or inclose with bark, or as with bark

Etymology 2

From the etyl enm berken, from the etyl ang beorcan, from the , of echoic/imitative origin. Akin to the Icelandic berkja


  1. The short, loud, explosive sound uttered by a dog.
  2. A similar sound made by some other animals.
  3. An abrupt loud vocal utterance.
    • circa 1921 CE: Fox’s clumsy figure, negligently dressed in blue and buff, seemed unprepossessing; only his shaggy eyebrows added to the expression of his face; his voice would rise to a bark in excitement. — The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Vol XI.
short, loud, explosive utterance
similar sound of other animals
figurative: abrupt utterance


  1. To make a short, loud, explosive noise with the vocal organs (said of animals, especially dogs).
  2. To make a clamor; to make importunate outcries.
    They bark, and say the Scripture maketh heretics. — Tyndale.
    Where there is the barking of the belly, there no other commands will be heard, much less obeyed. — Fuller.
  3. To speak sharply.
    The sergeant barked an order.
Related terms
to make a loud noise (dogs)
to make a clamor
  • Danish: råbe op
  • Finnish: murista, nurista
to speak sharply

Etymology 3

From the barke (meaning boat), from the Middle French barque, from the Late Latin barca, from the Vulgar Latin *barica, from the Greek βάρις (Egyptian boat), from the Coptic bari (meaning small boat).

Alternative spellings


  1. A small sailing vessel, eg a pinnace or a fishing smack; a rowing boat or barge.
  2. a sailing vessel or boat of any kind.
  3. A three-masted vessel, having her foremast and mainmast square-rigged, and her mizzenmast schooner-rigged.
  • circa 1880 CE: Whether my bark went down at sea, Whether she met with gales, ... — Emily Dickinson (1830–86), Poems
small sailing vessel
poetic term for a boat
  • Finnish: pursi, venho
three-masted vessel, foremast and mainmast square-rigged, mizzenmast schooner-rigged
  • Danish: bark
  • Dutch: bark
  • Finnish: parkki
  • French: barque
  • German: Bark
  • Hungarian: bárka
  • Icelandic: barkur
  • Portuguese: barca
  • Spanish: barca






  1. bark (large sailing boat)
  2. bark (covering of the trunk of a tree)




  1. barge, a large type of rowing - or sailing boat
  2. the bark of certain trees, used for its tannin



bark (genitive: barku, plural: barki)



bark (uncountable, definite form: barken)
  1. bark (covering of the trunk of a tree)

Extensive Definition

Bark, also known as periderm, is the outermost layer of stems and roots of woody plants such as trees. It overlays the wood and consists of three layers, the cork, the phloem and the vascular cambium. Products used by people that are derived from bark include: spices and other flavorings, tannin, resin, latex, medicines, poisons, various hallucinatory chemicals and cork. Bark has been used to make cloths, canoes, ropes and used as a surface for paintings and map making; A number of plants are also grown for their attractive or interesting bark colorations and surface textures.

Botanic description

  • Cork - an external, secondary tissue impermeable to water and gases.
  • Cork cambium - A layer of cells, normally one or two cell layers thick that is in a persistent meristematic state that produces cork.
  • Phelloderm - (not always present) A layer of cells formed in some plants from the inner cells of the cork cambium (Cork is produced from the outer layer).
  • Cortex - The primary tissue of stems and roots. In stems the cortex is between the epidermis layer and the phloem, in roots the inner layer is not phloem but the pericycle.
  • Phloem - nutrient conducting tissue composed of sieve tube or sieve cells mixed with parenchyma and fibers.
In old stems the epidermal layer, cortex, and primary phloem become separated from the inner tissues by thicker formations of cork. Due to the thickening cork layer these cells die because they do not receive water and nutrients. This dead layer is the rough corky bark that forms around tree trunks and other stems. In smaller stems and on typically non woody plants, sometimes a secondary covering forms called the periderm, which is made up of cork cambian, cork and phelloderm. It replaces the dermal layer and acts as a covering much like the corky bark, it too is made up of mostly dead tissue. The skin on the potato is a periderm.
Definitions of the term can vary. In another usage, bark consists of the dead and protective tissue found on the outside of a woody stem, and does not include the vascular tissue.
The vascular cambium is the only part of a woody stem where cell division occurs. It contains undifferentiated cells that divide rapidly to produce secondary xylem to the inside and secondary phloem to the outside.
Along with the xylem, the phloem is one of the two tissues inside a plant that are involved with fluid transport. The phloem transports organic molecules (particularly sugars) to wherever they are needed.


Cork, sometimes confused with bark in colloquial speech, is the outermost layer of a woody stem, derived from the cork cambium. It serves as protection against damage, parasites and diseases, as well as dehydration and extreme temperatures. Cork can contain antiseptics like tannins. Some cork is substantially thicker, providing further insulation and giving the bark a characteristic structure, in some cases thick enough to be harvestable as cork product without killing the tree. Bark has been used a covering in the making of canoes, the most famous example of this is the birch canoes of North America.
The bark of some trees is edible.
Among the commercial products made from bark are cork, cinnamon, quinine (from the bark of Cinchona) and aspirin (from the bark of willow trees). The bark of some trees notably oak (Quercus robur) is a source of tannic acid, which is used in tanning. Bark chips generated as a by-product of lumber production, are often used in bark mulch in western North America. Bark is important to the horticultural industry since in shredded form it is used for plants that do not thrive in ordinary soil, such as epiphytes.
Wood Adhesives from Bark-Derived Phenols: Wood Bark has lignin content and when it is pyrolyzed (subjected to high temperatures in the absence of oxygen), it yields a liquid bio-oil product rich in natural phenol derivatives. The phenol derivatives are isolated and recovered for application as a replacement for fossil-based phenols in phenol-formaldehyde (PF) resins used in Oriented Strand Board (OSB) and plywood.

Bark removal

Cut logs used for the production of lumber or even log cabins generally have the bark removed, either just before cutting or for curing. Such logs and even trunks and branches found in their natural state of decay in forests, where the bark has fallen off, are said to be decorticated.
A number of living organisms live in or on bark, including insects, fungi and other plants like mosses , algae and other vascular plants. Many of these organisms are pathogens or parasites but some also have symbiotic relationships.

Bark repair

The degree to which trees are able to repair gross physical damage to their bark is very variable. Some are able to produce a callus growth which heals over the wound rapidly, but leaves a clear scar, whilst others such as oaks do not produce an extensive callus repair.



bark in Catalan: Escorça (anatomia vegetal)
bark in Czech: Borka
bark in Danish: Bark (plantedel)
bark in German: Rinde
bark in Spanish: Corteza (árbol)
bark in French: Écorce
bark in Scottish Gaelic: Rùsg
bark in Croatian: Kora (biljke)
bark in Icelandic: Börkur
bark in Italian: Corteccia (vegetale)
bark in Lithuanian: Žievė
bark in Dutch: Schors
bark in Japanese: 樹皮
bark in Norwegian: Bark
bark in Norwegian Nynorsk: Bork
bark in Occitan (post 1500): Rusca
bark in Polish: Kora
bark in Portuguese: Súber
bark in Quechua: Yura qara
bark in Russian: Кора
bark in Sicilian: Scorcia (curteccia)
bark in Simple English: Bark
bark in Finnish: Kaarna
bark in Swedish: Bark
bark in Walloon: Schoice

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

ablate, abrade, abrase, advertise, animal noise, argosy, ballyhoo, bang, barking, battle cry, bawl, bay, bell, bellow, bill, birdcall, blare, blast, blat, blate, bleat, blemish, bloody, blubber, boat, boom, boost, bottom, bran, bray, break, breathe, bucket, build up, bulletin, burn, burst, buzz, cackle, call, capsule, case, caterwaul, chafe, chaff, chant, check, cheer, chip, chirp, circularize, clang, claw, coo, cork, corn shuck, cornhusk, cortex, crack, craft, craze, crow, cry, cry up, cut, decorticate, detonate, detonation, discharge, drawl, epicarp, erase, erode, establish, exclaim, excoriate, explode, explosion, file, flay, flute, fracture, fray, frazzle, fret, fulminate, fulmination, fusillade, gall, gash, gasp, give a write-up, give publicity, give tongue, give voice, gnaw, gnaw away, go off, grate, graze, grind, growl, grunt, gunshot, hail, halloo, hiss, holler, hollo, hooker, hoot, howl, howling, hulk, hull, hurrah, hurt, husk, incise, injure, jacket, keel, keen, lacerate, leviathan, lilt, low, maim, make mincemeat of, mating call, maul, meow, mew, mewl, miaow, moo, mumble, murmur, mutilate, mutter, neigh, nicker, note, packet, palea, pant, pare, peel, peeling, phellum, pierce, pipe, placard, plug, pod, pop, post, post bills, post up, press-agent, promote, publicize, puff, pule, puncture, rallying cry, rasp, raze, rend, rind, rip, roar, rub away, rub off, rub out, rumble, run, rupture, salvo, savage, scald, scalp, scorch, scotch, scour, scrape, scratch, screak, scream, screech, scrub, scuff, sell, shell, ship, shot, shout, shriek, shuck, sibilate, sigh, sing, skin, slash, slit, snap, snarl, snort, sob, spiel, sprain, squall, squawk, squeak, squeal, stab, stick, strain, stridulation, strip, tear, thunder, traumatize, troat, trumpet, tub, twang, ululate, ululation, vessel, volley, wail, war cry, war whoop, warble, watercraft, wear, wear away, whicker, whine, whinny, whisper, whoop, woodnote, wound, wrench, write up, yammer, yap, yawl, yawp, yell, yelp, yip, yo-ho, yowl
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