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barb (noun) the point of an arrow or a hook (as of a fishing hook) curved backwards (to make it difficult to pull it out); an amusing but a cruel remark intended to hurt others' feelings.
The hook at the end of a fishing line is curved backward, to make it difficult for the fish to pull its mouth out. So is the case with the backward curve of the point of an arrow, making it difficult to pull it out of the body of the victim.
- The barb of a fishing hook makes it impossible for the fish to loosen its mouth from off the hook. It dies an acutely painful death. Angling, fishing with a hook and line, is as sadistic a sport as a bull fight or hunting. Catching fish in a net is more humane.
- The barbs she aimed at her husband in her jealousy, resulting from a connection she suspected between him and another woman, made him so impatient as to desire to kill her.