hark back

hark

[hahrk]
verb (used without object)
1.
to listen attentively; hearken.
verb (used with object)
2.
Archaic. to listen to; hear.
noun
3.
a hunter's shout to hounds, as to encourage them in following the scent.
Verb phrases
4.
hark back,
a.
(of hounds) to return along the course in order to regain a lost scent.
b.
to return to a previous subject or point; revert: He kept harking back to his early days in vaudeville.

Origin:
1175–1225; Middle English herken, earlier herkien, Old English *heorcian; cognate with Old Frisian herkia, harkia; akin to Middle Dutch harken, Middle High German, German horchen. See hearken, hear

unharked, adjective


4b. refer, allude; regress, retrogress.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hark (hɑːk)
 
vb
(intr; usually imperative) to listen; pay attention
 
[Old English heorcnian to hearken; related to Old Frisian herkia, Old High German hōrechen; see hear]

hark back
 
vb
(intr, adverb) to return to an earlier subject, point, or position, as in speech or thought

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

hark
c.1175, from O.E. *heorcian (related to hearken), an intensive form from base of hieran (see hear). To hark back (1829) originally refers to hounds returning along a track when the scent has been lost, till they find it again.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

hark back

Return to a previous point, as in Let us hark back briefly to my first statement. This expression originally alluded to hounds retracing their course when they have lost their quarry's scent. It may be dying out. [First half of 1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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