noun. 1) pieces of defensive armor for a horse
2) a thin slice of fat or bacon secured to meat or poultry before cooking.
verb. 1) to caparison (dress richly or ornamentally) with bards
2) to secure thin slices of fat or bacon to meat or poultry before cooking
Etymology: late 1400s; Middle French barde. The more usual use of the word bard (poet) comes from Middle English, but I wonder if they both have the same underlying meaning along the lines of "embellish".
Barding and larding are two different culinary procedures, although they serve the same purpose (to keep meat moist and add flavor). Barding generally involves laying strips of bacon on the top of the meat before cooking, removing it for the last few minutes of cooking to allow the meat to brown. Larding involves using a special needle to insert strips of pure fat into a cut of meat. Adding fat to an otherwise lean, dry, or flavorless meat is a classic technique. If you saw "Fannie's Last Supper" on public television, where they re-created a twelve-course Victorian dinner, you saw them larding venison using salt pork.
Wisegeek calls barding an "automatic basting system".