• IPA: /bɑː(ɹ)b/

barb (plural barbs)

  1. The point that stands backward in an arrow, fishhook, etc., to prevent it from being easily extracted. Hence: Anything which stands out with a sharp point obliquely or crosswise to something else.
    • Having two barbs or points.
  2. (figuratively) A hurtful or disparaging remark.
  3. A beard, or that which resembles it, or grows in the place of it.
    • The barbel, so called by reason of his barbs, or wattles in his mouth.
  4. Armor for a horse, corrupted from bard.
    • 1786, Francis Grose, A Treatise on Ancient Armour and Weapons, page 29:
      The defensive armor with the horses of the ancient knights ... These are frequently, though improperly, stiled barbs.
  5. (obsolete) A horse.
    • 1813, Lord Byron, The Giaour, a Fragment of a Turkish Tale, 8th edition, London: Printed by Thomas Davison, […], for John Murray, […], OCLC 813693480 ↗, lines 699–700, page 34 ↗:
      Why sends not the Bridegroom his promised gift, / Is his heart more cold, or his barb less swift?
  6. (ornithology) One of the side branches of a feather, which collectively constitute the vane.
  7. (ichthyology) Any of various species of freshwater carp-like fish that have barbels and belong to the cyprinid family.
  8. (US) Menticirrhus americanus (Carolina whiting, king whiting, southern kingcroaker, and southern kingfish), found along the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States.
  9. (botany) A hair or bristle ending in a double hook.
  10. A blackish or dun variety of the pigeon, originally brought from Barbary.
  11. (obsolete) A muffler, worn by nuns and mourners.
  12. Paps, or little projections, of the mucous membrane, which mark the opening of the submaxillary glands under the tongue in horses and cattle. The name is mostly applied when the barbs are inflamed and swollen. [Written also barbel and barble.]
  13. (obsolete) A bit for a horse.
  14. A plastic fastener, shaped roughly like a capital I (with serifs), used to attach socks etc. to their packaging.
Translations Translations Translations
  • Russian: боро́дка
  • Spanish: barba

barb (barbs, present participle barbing; past barbed, past participle barbed)

  1. To furnish with barbs, or with that which will hold or hurt like barbs, as an arrow, fishhook, spear, etc.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 6, lines 544-6, []
      […] for this day will pour down, / If I conjecture aught, no drizzling shower, / But rattling storm of arrows barbed with fire.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter II, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      Orion hit a rabbit once; but though sore wounded it got to the bury, and, struggling in, the arrow caught the side of the hole and was drawn out. Indeed, a nail filed sharp is not of much avail as an arrowhead; you must have it barbed, and that was a little beyond our skill.
    • 1944, Emily Carr, The House of All Sorts, "Meg the Worker,"
      Her coat was a tangled mass, barbed with last year's burs, matted disgustingly with cow dung.
  2. To cover a horse in armor, corrupted from bard.
    • 1592, William Shakespeare, Richard III (play), Act I, Scene I, line 10:
      And now, in stead of mounting barbed steeds / To fright the souls of fearful adversaries, / He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber […].
  3. (obsolete) To shave or dress the beard of.
  4. (obsolete) To clip; to mow.

barb (plural barbs)

  1. The Barbary horse, a superior breed introduced from Barbary into Spain by the Moors.
  2. A blackish or dun variety of pigeon, originally brought from Barbary.

Proper noun
  1. A diminutive of the female given name Barbara.
  2. Surname

barb (plural Barbz)

  1. (slang) A fan of the American singer Nicki Minaj, especially a female one.
    • 2012, "Forward Line ↗", Inpress, Issue 1235, August 2012, page 14:
      Minaj is thrilled to be returning to her legion of Aussie Barbz this October in a brand new full-scale arena show.
    • 2012, "The year in music ↗", Fast Forward Weekly, 27 December 2012:
      I’m not a Barb, but Nicki Minaj totally made me do a 180 on the whole hating-her-songs-and-general-vibe thing I had going on when I went to review her in concert.
    • 2013, "Mariah talks about Idol feud ↗", Postnoon, 9 January 2013, page 28:
      Lambs and Barbz, remain calm, but Mariah Carey is once again talking about her infamous feud with Nicki Minaj.

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