bark up the wrong tree

illustration for section: bark up the wrong tree
bark up the wrong tree  {v. phr.},  {informal}
To choose the wrong person to deal with or the wrong course of action; mistake an aim.
If he thinks he can fool me, he is barking up the wrong tree.
He is barking up the wrong tree when he blames his troubles on bad luck.
The police were looking for a tall thin man, but were barking up the wrong tree; the thief was short and fat.
Categories: informal verb