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hark

[hahrk] /hɑrk/
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,
  1. (of hounds) to return along the course in order to regain a lost scent.
  2. to return to a previous subject or point; revert:
    He kept harking back to his early days in vaudeville.
Origin of hark
1175-1225
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
Related forms
unharked, adjective
Synonyms
4b. refer, allude; regress, retrogress.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for harking back
Historical Examples
  • harking back, we shall hear voices that once touched us, and may yet guide us.

  • There has never been any attempt at harking back to earlier periods.

    Venice Dorothy Menpes
  • "But I don't know that I want to marry him," insisted Suzanne, doggedly, harking back to her original idea.

    The "Genius" Theodore Dreiser
  • Why do you keep on harking back to the subject when I have spoken so plainly?

    Fan W.H. Hudson (AKA Henry Harford)
  • Watts, Rossetti and Burne-Jones were harking back to antiquity for inspiration.

    The Tapestry Book Helen Churchill Candee
  • Then presently he went on, harking back to the subject of Horrocks.

  • Sometimes, too, there is involved a harking back to interests of an earlier period of life.

    Adventurings in the Psychical H. Addington Bruce
  • I had no choice but to go on, harking back as soon as I could.

    The Passenger from Calais Arthur Griffiths
  • Or—harking back to her original theory—that he was an emissary from Scotland Yard?

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • Now, in harking back to the origin of these acquired habits, if I interrogate the possibilities I obtain zero as the only answer.

    More Hunting Wasps J. Henri Fabre
British Dictionary definitions for harking back

hark

/hɑːk/
verb
1.
(intransitive; usually imperative) to listen; pay attention
Word Origin
Old English heorcnian to hearken; related to Old Frisian herkia, Old High German hōrechen; see hear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for harking back

hark

v.

late 12c., from Old English *heorcian, perhaps an intensive form from base of hieran (see hear). Cf. talk/tale. Cognate with Old Frisian harkia "listen," Middle Dutch horken, Old High German horechon, German horchen. To hark back (1829) originally referred to hounds returning along a track when the scent has been lost, till they find it again. Related: Harked; harking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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