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Barking up the Wrong Tree: Origin and Meaning

To have the wrong idea about a person, a situation or the reason for something.
barking up the wrong treeThis idiom originated through hunting and dogs. Dogs are often used on hunting trips as they have a strong sense of smell and can chase animals that they spot. When being chased, some animals climb up trees to escape and the dogs stand at the bottom of the tree and bark so the hunter knows where the animal is. However, sometimes a dog can make a mistake and choose the wrong tree – in other words, they are literally barking up the wrong tree!
“You’re barking up the wrong tree if you think I’m paying for dinner again today. It’s your turn!”

“My boss thinks Diana left the job because she found a better one but he’s barking up the wrong tree. She just didn’t like working with him!”

Jenny: “I can’t believe David ate my lunch again! I was really looking forward to my chicken sandwich.”
Simon: “I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. David became a vegetarian last week.”
Jenny: “Really?! I wonder who it was then.”
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