Branch


Branch

A branch (American English IPAEng|ˈbræntʃ, British English IPAEng|ˈbrɑːntʃ) 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 a shrub). 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 In general however, unspecific words for a branch (such as rise and rame) have been replaced by the word branch itself.

pecific terms

A bough can also be called a limb or arm, and though these are arguably metaphors, both are widely accepted synonyms for bough. [ [http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=limb "limb" on Merriam-Webster.] ] [ [http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Dictionary&va=arm "arm" on Merriam-Webster.] ]

A twig is frequently referred to as a sprig as well, especially when it has been plucked. [ [http://encarta.msn.com/encnet/features/dictionary/DictionaryResults.aspx?refid=1861712698 "sprig" on Encarta.] ] 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. [ [http://www.bartleby.com/61/64/M0346400.html "mistletoe" on American Heritage.] ]


=

ee also

*Root
*Trunk (botany)
*Plant stem
*Runner
*Shoot
*Sucker
*Wand
*Switch (rod)
*Staff (stick)

References


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  • branch — branch; branch·less; branch·let; ca·du·ci·branch; di·branch; dis·branch; em·branch·ment; fo·lio·branch; hemi·branch; hol·o·branch; in·ter·branch; mal·e·branch·ism; mal·e·branch·ist; mar·si·po·branch; pe·ren·ni·branch; pleu·ro·branch; podo·branch; …   English syllables

  • Branch — Branch, n.; pl. {Branches}. [OE. braunche, F. branche, fr. LL. branca claw of a bird or beast of prey; cf. Armor. brank branch, bough.] 1. (Bot.) A shoot or secondary stem growing from the main stem, or from a principal limb or bough of a tree or …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • branch — [branch, bränch] n. [ME branche < OFr brance < LL branca, a claw, paw] 1. any woody extension growing from the trunk or main stem, or from a main limb, of a tree or shrub 2. anything physically resembling a branch, as a tine of a deer s… …   English World dictionary

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  • Branch — Branch, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Branched}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Branching}.] 1. To shoot or spread in branches; to separate into branches; to ramify. [1913 Webster] 2. To divide into separate parts or subdivision. [1913 Webster] {To branch off}, to form …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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  • Branch, AR — U.S. city in Arkansas Population (2000): 357 Housing Units (2000): 155 Land area (2000): 3.565727 sq. miles (9.235191 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.001730 sq. miles (0.004480 sq. km) Total area (2000): 3.567457 sq. miles (9.239671 sq. km) FIPS… …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

  • Branch — Branch, v. t. 1. To divide as into branches; to make subordinate division in. [1913 Webster] 2. To adorn with needlework representing branches, flowers, or twigs. [1913 Webster] The train whereof loose far behind her strayed, Branched with gold… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English


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