I. noun — [ mass noun] 1. the tough protective outer sheath of the trunk, branches, and twigs of a tree or woody shrub. • beavers feed on leaves and the living bark of trees.
2. bark used for tanning leather, making dyestuffs, or as a mulch in gardening • top-dress lime-hating shrubs with bark.
II. verb — [with obj.] 1.
(chiefly Brit.) strip the bark from (a tree or piece of wood).
• they had to be barked by hand, you couldn’t peel them the way you can newly cut wood.
2. scrape the skin off (one’s shin) by accidentally hitting it against something hard. • it’s pitch black—I barked my shin and took a tumble in a nettle bed.
‹technical› tan or dye (leather or other materials) using the tannins found in bark.
– origin Middle English: from Old Norse bǫrkr; perhaps related to birch.