Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Any of various deciduous trees or shrubs of the genus Betula, native to the Northern Hemisphere and having unisexual flowers in catkins, alternate, simple, toothed leaves, and bark that often peels in thin papery layers.
  • noun The hard, close-grained wood of any of these trees, used especially in furniture, interior finishes, and plywood.
  • noun A rod from a birch, used to administer a whipping.
  • transitive verb To whip with or as if with a birch.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun In New Zealand, a name of any one of several species of Nothofagus.
  • noun Same as white birch .
  • noun Same as cañon- birch.
  • noun The Atlantic coast birch, B. populifolia.
  • noun The paper-or canoe-birch, B. papyrifera.
  • noun Nothofagus Solandri, a beautiful evergreen tree 100 feet high: so called from the color of the bark.
  • noun A tree or shrub belonging to the genus Betula (which see).
  • noun A birch rod, or a number of birch-twigs bound together, sometimes used for punishing children.
  • noun A birch-bark canoe.
  • To beat or punish with a birch rod; flog.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A tree of several species, constituting the genus Betula; as, the white or common birch (Betula alba) (also called silver birch and lady birch); the dwarf birch (Betula glandulosa); the paper or canoe birch (Betula papyracea); the yellow birch (Betula lutea); the black or cherry birch (Betula lenta).
  • noun The wood or timber of the birch.
  • noun A birch twig or birch twigs, used for flogging.
  • noun A birch-bark canoe.
  • noun a species (Bursera gummifera) of turpentine tree.
  • noun (Zoöl.) See Ruffed grouse.
  • noun wine made of the spring sap of the birch.
  • noun An oil prepared from the black birch (Betula lenta), said to be identical with the oil of wintergreen, for which it is largely sold.
  • transitive verb To whip with a birch rod or twig; to flog.
  • adjective Of or pertaining to the birch; birchen.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun any of various trees of the genus Betula, native to countries in the northern hemisphere.
  • noun a hard wood taken from the birch tree, typically used to make furniture.
  • noun a stick, rod or bundle of twigs made from birch wood, used for punishment.
  • verb to punish with a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.
  • verb to punish as though one were using a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.

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

  • noun a switch consisting of a twig or a bundle of twigs from a birch tree; used to hit people as punishment
  • adjective consisting of or made of wood of the birch tree
  • noun hard close-grained wood of any of various birch trees; used especially in furniture and interior finishes and plywood
  • verb whip with a birch twig
  • noun any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula having a thin peeling bark

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English birce; see bherəg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English birche, birk, from Old English birce, bierce, from Proto-Germanic *birkijōn (compare West Frisian bjirk, German Birke), variant of *berkōn (compare Dutch berk, Swedish björk), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰérHǵos (compare Lithuanian béržas, Czech bříza, Ossetic bærz(æ)).

Examples

  • But the meanest thing that I ever heard of his doing, was this: In these same woods -- the woods where the huckleberries and hazel nuts grew -- there were great multitudes of birch trees, of different species and among the rest, some of that species which goes by the name, among children, of _black birch_.

    Mike Marble His Crotchets and Oddities.

  • Hey twin birch is that a yellow lab I see in your pic?

    Calling all Portland Soapers

  • Silver birch is even better than paper birch, though both work fine.

    Build A Survival Fire With Condoms and Underwear

  • For a purely primitive firestarter take some paper thin birch bark and wrap it around a thumb-size wad of pine sap.

    Firestarter

  • For a purely primitive firestarter take some paper thin birch bark and wrap it around a thumb-size wad of pine sap.

    Firestarter

  • Silver birch is even better than paper birch, though both work fine.

    Build A Survival Fire With Condoms and Underwear

  • From an inside pocket he drew out his matches and a strip of thin birch bark.

    First Version of To Build A Fire

  • Walter had named them long ago; and last November, when he had walked with her and Miss Oliver in the Valley, he had said, looking at the leafless Lady, with a young silver moon hanging over her, "A white birch is a beautiful Pagan maiden who has never lost the Eden secret of being naked and unashamed."

    Rilla of Ingleside

  • "That birch is such a place for birds and they sing like mad in the mornings."

    Rainbow Valley

  • From an inside pocket he drew out his matches and a strip of thin birch bark.

    To Build A Fire

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