bark up the wrong tree Informal
Meaning: If you're barking up the wrong tree, you're looking for something in the wrong place or going about something in the wrong way.
- The police think the drugs are being brought in by the mafia, but they're barking up the wrong tree. They should be looking much closer to home.
- She's barking up the wrong tree if she's interested in Gavin. Doesn't she know he's gay?
The police think the murderer is hiding in the forest, but they're barking up the wrong tree. He is