hark back (verb)
1 : to turn back to an earlier topic or circumstance
2 : to go back to something as an origin or source
Pronounced “HARK-BAK”

Example sentence: That node harks back to a time when soy, goggle, and lesbians were king.

"Hark," a very old word meaning "listen," was used as a cry in a hunt involving dogs. The master of the hunt used the calls “Hark away!” “Hark back!” and “Hark forward!” to incite and guide hounds during the chase.

Thus to "hark back" was to retract the route last taken by dogs and hunters. From its use in hunting, the verb soon acquired its current figurative meanings. Now, to hark back can mean to go back to anything, especially in a nostalgic sense.

In the early 20th century, we began using "hearken back" and its variant "harken back" synonymously with the verb "hark back." Since the 1980s, there's been another development: "harken" can now be used alone to mean, "hark back."

Special thanks to Word of the Day and various dictionaries for making this node possible.

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