AskDefine | Define branch

Dictionary Definition

branch

Noun

1 an administrative division of some larger or more complex organization; "a branch of Congress" [syn: subdivision, arm]
2 a division of a stem, or secondary stem arising from the main stem of a plant
3 a part of a forked or branching shape; "he broke off one of the branches"; "they took the south fork" [syn: fork, leg, ramification]
4 a natural consequence of development [syn: outgrowth, offshoot, offset]
5 a stream or river connected to a larger one
6 any projection that is thought to resemble an arm; "the arm of the record player"; "an arm of the sea"; "a branch of the sewer" [syn: arm, limb]

Verb

1 grow and send out branches or branch-like structures; "these plants ramify early and get to be very large" [syn: ramify]
2 divide into two or more branches so as to form a fork; "The road forks" [syn: ramify, fork, furcate, separate]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

  • UK:
    • /bra:nʧ/, /brA:ntS/
  • GenAm:
    • /brænʧ/, /br

Extensive Definition

A branch (American English: /ˈbɹʷæntʃ/, British English: /ˈbɹɑːntʃ/) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part of the central trunk of a tree (or sometimes bush). Large branches are known as boughs and small branches are known as twigs.
While branches can be nearly horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, the majority of trees have upwardly diagonal branches.
The term "twig" often refers to a terminal branch, while "bough" refers only to branches coming directly from the trunk.

Words

Because of the enormous quantity of branches in the world, there are a variety of names in English alone for them. In general however, unspecific words for a branch (such as rise and rame) have been replaced by the word branch itself.

Specific terms

A bough can also be called a limb or arm, and though these are arguably metaphors, both are widely accepted synonyms for bough.
A twig is frequently referred to as a sprig as well, especially when it has been plucked. Other words for twig include branchlet, spray, and surcle, as well as the technical terms surculus and ramulus.
Branches found under larger branches can be called underbranches.
Some branches from specific trees have their own names, such as osiers and withes or withies, which come from willows. Often trees have certain words which, in English, are naturally collocated, such as holly and mistletoe, which usually employ the phrase "sprig of" (as in, a "sprig of mistletoe"). Similarly, the branch of a cherry tree is generally referred to as a "cherry branch", while other such formations (i.e., "acacia branch" or "orange branch") carry no such alliance. A good example of this versatility is oak, which could be referred to as variously an "oak branch", an "oaken branch", a "branch of oak", or the "branch of an oak [tree]".
Once a branch has been cut or in any other way removed from its source, it is most commonly referred to as a stick, and a stick employed for some purpose (such as walking, spanking, or beating) is often called a rod. Thin, flexible sticks are called switches, wands, shrags, or vimina (singular vimen).

History and etymology

In Old English there are numerous words for branch, including seten, stofn, telgor, and hrīs. There are also numerous descriptive words, such as blēd (that is, something that has bled, or "bloomed", out), bōgincel (literally "little bough"), ōwæstm (literally "on growth"), and tūdornes (literally "offspringing"). Numerous other words for twigs and boughs abound, including tān, which still surves as the "-toe" in mistletoe.

Images

Reference

branch in Danish: Gren (plantedel)
branch in German: Ast
branch in Spanish: rama
branch in Esperanto: Branĉo
branch in Ido: Brancho
branch in Italian: Ramo
branch in Dutch: Tak (plant)
branch in Japanese: 分枝 (生物学)
branch in Norwegian Nynorsk: Grein
branch in Polish: Gałąź
branch in Portuguese: Galho
branch in Quechua: K'allma
branch in Russian: Ветвь
branch in Simple English: Branch
branch in Thai: ตาก (แก้ความกำกวม)

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

L, V, adolescent stream, affiliate, affiliation, affluent, angle, angle off, apparentation, appendage, arm, arroyo, bayou, bear off, beck, bend, bifurcate, billabong, bine, biotype, birth, bisect, blood, bloodline, body, booking office, bough, bourn, box office, bracket, braided stream, branch off, branch office, branch out, branchedness, branchiness, breed, brook, brooklet, burgeon, burn, by two, cabinet, cable railway, caste, category, chambers, chancellery, chancery, change the bearing, channel, chapter, church, clan, class, cleave, closet, cog railway, common ancestry, communion, community, confluent, confluent stream, consanguinity, consulate, corporate headquarters, crank, creek, crick, crook, crotch, crutch, curve, cut in two, deadwood, delta, den, dendritic drainage pattern, denomination, depart from, department, deploy, derivation, descent, detour, deviate, dichotomize, digress, dimidiate, direct line, disperse, distaff side, divagate, divaricate, diverge, diversify, divide, division, effluent, el, elbow, electric railway, elevated, elevated railway, embankment, embassy, estate, executive office, expand, extend, extraction, faction, family, fan, fan out, feeder, feeder line, fellowship, female line, filiation, fission, flagellum, flare, flowing stream, fluviation, fork, fresh, freshet, frond, furcate, furcula, furculum, genotype, genus, gill, grade, gravity-operated railway, groin, group, grouping, halve, hand, head, heading, headquarters, heel, home office, hook, horse railway, house, imp, in half, inguen, joint, junction, kill, kin, kingdom, label, lazy stream, leg, legation, level, light railroad, limb, line, line of descent, lineage, link, lobe, lobule, local, lodge, main line, main office, male line, meandering stream, member, metro, midchannel, midstream, millstream, monorail, moving road, navigable river, office, offset, offshoot, open, open up, order, organ, organization, outspread, outstretch, overgrow, overrun, part, party, persuasion, phylum, pigeonhole, pinion, position, post, predicament, prong, race, racing stream, rack railway, rack-and-pinion railway, rail, rail line, railroad, railway, ramage, ramification, ramify, rank, rating, religious order, river, rivulet, roadbed, roadway, rubric, run, rundle, runlet, runnel, runner, sarment, schism, school, scion, sect, sectarism, section, seed, segment, sept, series, service, set, sheer, shift, shoot, shop, side, sidetrack, siding, sike, slip, society, spear, spear side, species, spill stream, spin-off, spindle side, splay, split in two, spraddle, sprangle, sprawl, spray, spread, spread like wildfire, spread out, sprig, sprit, sprout, spur, station, status, stem, stirps, stock, stolon, strain, stratum, stream, stream action, streamlet, street railway, streetcar line, study, subclass, subdivide, subdivision, subfamily, subgenus, subgroup, subkingdom, suborder, subsidiary, subspecies, subterranean river, subtribe, subway, succession, sucker, superclass, superfamily, superorder, superspecies, swerve, switch, switchback, sword side, tack, tail, tendril, terminal, terminus, thallus, ticket office, title, track, tram, tramline, transect, trend, trestle, tribe, tributary, trident, trifurcate, trolley line, trunk, trunk line, tube, turn, turn aside, turnout, twig, underground, unfold, variety, vary, veer, version, wadi, watercourse, waterway, widen, wing, wishbone, zag, zig, zigzag
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