from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A secondary woody stem or limb growing from the trunk or main stem of a tree or shrub or from another secondary limb.
  • n. A lateral division or subdivision of certain other plant parts, such as a root or flower cluster.
  • n. Something that resembles a branch of a tree, as in form or function, as:
  • n. A secondary outgrowth or subdivision of a main axis, such as the tine of a deer's antlers.
  • n. Anatomy An offshoot or a division of the main portion of a structure, especially that of a nerve, blood vessel, or lymphatic vessel; a ramus.
  • n. A limited part of a larger or more complex unit or system, especially:
  • n. An area of specialized skill or knowledge, especially academic or vocational, that is related to but separate from other areas: the judicial branch of government; the branch of medicine called neurology.
  • n. A division of a business or other organization.
  • n. A division of a family, categorized by descent from a particular ancestor.
  • n. Linguistics A subdivision of a family of languages, such as the Germanic branch of Indo-European.
  • n. A tributary of a river.
  • n. Chiefly Southern U.S. See creek. See Regional Note at run.
  • n. A divergent section of a river, especially near the mouth.
  • n. Mathematics A part of a curve that is separated, as by discontinuities or extreme points.
  • n. Computer Science A sequence of program instructions to which the normal sequence of instructions relinquishes control, depending on the value of certain variables.
  • n. Computer Science The instructions executed as the result of such a passing of control.
  • intransitive v. To put forth a branch or branches; spread by dividing.
  • intransitive v. To come forth as a branch or subdivision; develop or diverge from: an unpaved road that branches from the main road; a theory that branches from an older system of ideas.
  • intransitive v. To enlarge the scope of one's interests, business, or activities: branch out from physics into related fields.
  • intransitive v. Computer Science To relinquish control to another set of instructions or another routine as a result of the presence of a branch.
  • transitive v. To separate (something) into or as if into branches.
  • transitive v. To embroider (something) with a design of foliage or flowers.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The woody part of a tree arising from the trunk and usually dividing.
  • n. Something that divides like the branch of a tree.
  • n. A location of an organization with several locations.
  • n. A local congregation of the LDS Church that is not large enough to form a ward; see Wikipedia article on ward in LDS church.
  • n. An area in business or of knowledge, research.
  • n. A certificate given by Trinity House to a pilot qualified to take navigational control of a ship in British waters.
  • v. To arise from the trunk or a larger branch of a tree.
  • v. To produce branches.
  • v. To jump to a different location in a program, especially as the result of a conditional statement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Diverging from, or tributary to, a main stock, line, way, theme, etc..
  • n. A shoot or secondary stem growing from the main stem, or from a principal limb or bough of a tree or other plant.
  • n. Any division extending like a branch; any arm or part connected with the main body of thing; ramification.
  • n. Any member or part of a body or system; a distinct article; a section or subdivision; a department.
  • n. One of the portions of a curve that extends outwards to an indefinitely great distance.
  • n. A line of family descent, in distinction from some other line or lines from the same stock; any descendant in such a line.
  • n. A warrant or commission given to a pilot, authorizing him to pilot vessels in certain waters.
  • intransitive v. To shoot or spread in branches; to separate into branches; to ramify.
  • intransitive v. To divide into separate parts or subdivision.
  • transitive v. To divide as into branches; to make subordinate division in.
  • transitive v. To adorn with needlework representing branches, flowers, or twigs.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A division or subdivision of the stem or axis of a tree, shrub, or other plant (the ultimate or smaller ramifications being called branchlets, twigs, or shoots); a bough.
  • n. Something resembling a branch in its relation to the trunk; an offshoot or part extending from the main body of a thing; a ramification; a subdivision; an outgrowth.
  • n. Specifically— Any member or part of a body or system; a department; a section or subdivision: as, a branch of a society; the various branches of learning.
  • n. A line of family descent, in distinction from some other line or lines from the same stock: as, the English or the Irish branch of a family.
  • n. Any descendant in such a line.
  • n. In geometry, any portion of a real curve capable of description by the continuous motion of a point. Every branch either extends to infinity or returns into itself (reëntrant branch); but some old geometers considered a branch to be ended by a cusp.
  • n. A piece of pipe including a length of the main pipe and a shorter piece branching from it. When the latter is at right angles to the former, the branch is aT-branch; if at an acute angle, it is a y-branch. If there are two branching pieces, it is called a double branch.
  • n. The metal piece on the end of the hose of a fire-engine to which the nozle is screwed.
  • n. One of the sides of a horseshoe.
  • n. In fortification, the wing or long side of a horn- or crown-work; also, one of the parts of a zig-zag approach.
  • n. In a sword-hilt, either of two pieces which project at right angles to the barrel and to the blade of the sword, forming guards for the hand. See hilt.
  • n. In entomology, the flagellum or outer portion of a geniculate antenna.
  • n. In mining, a small vein, leader, or string of ore, connected with or seeming to branch from the main lode. See lode.
  • n. In a bridle, either of two bent pieces of iron which bear the bit, the cross-chains, and the curb.
  • n. In the southern and some of the western United States, the general name for any stream that is not a large river or a bayou.
  • n. The diploma or commission issued by the proper authority to a pilot who has passed an examination for competency.
  • n. A chandelier.
  • n. A branched candlestick or candle.
  • Consisting of or constituting a branch; ramifying; diverging from a trunk, main stem, or main body: as, a branch road or railroad; a branch society.
  • To spread in branches; send out branches, as a plant.
  • To divide into separate parts or subdivisions; diverge; ramify.
  • To divide, as into branches; make subordinate divisions in.
  • To adorn with needlework; decorate with embroidery; adorn with flowers or other ornament, as in textile fabrics.
  • n. In mathematics, some one determination of a many-valued function selected for consideration.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a natural consequence of development
  • n. a division of some larger or more complex organization
  • n. a stream or river connected to a larger one
  • n. any projection that is thought to resemble a human arm
  • n. a part of a forked or branching shape
  • v. grow and send out branches or branch-like structures
  • n. a division of a stem, or secondary stem arising from the main stem of a plant
  • v. divide into two or more branches so as to form a fork


Middle English, from Old French branche, from Late Latin branca, paw, perhaps of Celtic origin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French branche, from Vulgar Latin branca ("paw"), possibly from Gaulish *vranca. Indo-European cognates include Old Norse vró ("angle, corner"), Lithuanian rankà ("hand"), Old Church Slavonic рѫка (rǫka, "hand"), Albanian rangë ("yard work"). (Wiktionary)


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