barb1 /bɑːb/


I. noun

1. a sharp projection near the end of an arrow, fish hook, or similar object, which is angled away from the main point so as to make extraction difficult.
2. a cluster of spikes on barbed wire.
3. a deliberately hurtful remark

his barb hurt more than she cared to admit.
4. a beard-like filament at the mouth of some fish, such as barbel and catfish.
5. each of the fine hair-like filaments growing from the shaft of a feather, forming the vane.
6. a freshwater fish with barbels around the mouth, popular in aquaria.

Barbus and other genera, family Cyprinidae: numerous species.
II. derivatives


– origin Middle English (denoting a piece of linen worn over or under the chin by nuns): from Old French barbe, from Latin barba ‘beard’.

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