Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Barb.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
An arrow. The feathers under the beak of a hawk were called barb feathers (beard feathers). The point of an arrow has two iron “feathers,” which stick out so as to hinder the extraction of the arrow. (Latin, barba, a beard.)   1
   N.B.—The barb is not the feather on the upper part of the shaft, but the hooked iron point or head.   2



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