Definition of branch in English:



  • 1A part of a tree which grows out from the trunk or from a bough.

    ‘Sophie was in the branches of a tree eating an apple’
    • ‘In other cases, growing trees had their branches cut regularly on one side, because they leaned on to private property; the trees grew up lopsided and leaned far on to the roads.’
    • ‘This time he sang for his tree to grow thick branches and leaves to shelter him in this forbidding place.’
    • ‘A profusion of mosses, liverworts, lichens and ferns cover the woodland floor and festoon tree trunks and branches.’
    • ‘Open-grown or widely spaced trees have larger-diameter dead branches than trees grown at narrower spacing.’
    • ‘People are collecting the branches and boughs of trees smashed down by the icy snow.’
    • ‘The position is similar to that where branches of trees growing on neighbouring property encroach across the boundary.’
    • ‘Five large hippo-like creatures were grazing on tall, violet flowers growing out from the branches of nearby trees.’
    • ‘Tucked away in the forest, and only accessible to those with local knowledge, its old contorted paperbark trees exhibited gnarly branches, trunks and burls.’
    • ‘Most species find food while climbing on tree trunks or branches.’
    • ‘Again and again, chronologers applied the same techniques to the materials they assembled along the tree's trunk and branches.’
    • ‘Of special interest are the bromeliads that grow on trunks and along branches of big trees.’
    • ‘The steel columns holding up the roof will resemble the trunks and branches of trees.’
    • ‘Twenty or thirty large, gently fluted pods grow directly from the tree's trunk and branches, dangling like holiday ornaments.’
    • ‘And my friend told me that you can graft an apple branch into a peach tree, but the branch will still grow apples.’
    • ‘The curling movement of the smoke is echoed in the arabesques formed by the curving trunks and branches of two trees, which are also reflected in a pond in the foreground.’
    • ‘They grow on the tree branches and bloom for two months only, during July and August.’
    • ‘Most people are likely to think of winter landscapes as pictures made up of stark contrasts, of dark tree trunks and branches against white snow.’
    • ‘Little hooks line the trunk and branches of the tree, on which children can hang their creations or the drawings of their dreams and wishes.’
    • ‘In a branched system, a single pipe feeds smaller pipes along the way much like a tree trunk feeds the branches.’
    • ‘As a result, student work will improve if they try drawing trees that show branches growing toward them and - to a lesser extent - away from them.’
    bough, limb, arm, offshoot
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    1. 1.1 A lateral extension or subdivision extending from the main part of a river, road, railway, etc.
      ‘a branch of the Clinton River’
      • ‘It is not officially a branch, but rather an extension of the main line first named the Oshawa Subdivision and re-named the Belleville Subdivision.’
      • ‘They took the western branch of the road to begin with.’
      • ‘From there it will be carried up into the largest vein of the body and into the right side of the heart, then into the main branches of the arteries to the lung, where it will impact, blocking the blood flow.’
      • ‘The main station is being built at Ondangwa where the railway branches to Oshakati and to Oshikango.’
      • ‘Private GEO-TV said the bus was traveling along the Karakoram highway in Kohistan when it left the road and fell into a branch of the Indus river.’
      • ‘At this point they took the eastern branch of the road and walked for another five days.’
      • ‘The mid-April snow storm will provide significant moisture for increased streamflow on the southern branch of the Platte River in Colorado.’
      • ‘A mistake at a university in Laval and a railway branch built by the Canadian National changed things.’
      • ‘Several small branches of the corridor extend north and south of the main corridor.’
      • ‘But this map also clearly shows that the river has many canals, streams, branches and tributaries.’
      • ‘We walked through endless marble corridors that twisted and turned with many branches leading from the main thoroughfare.’
      • ‘Second, Goondiwindi's water park incorporates the Serpentine Creek, a branch of the Macintyre River.’
      • ‘Shakadang Stream is a branch of the Liwu River, which cuts through rock layers 9 million years old to carve the Taroko Gorge.’
      • ‘That hill led to the back of another sight, and that sight was connected to a branch of the main road.’
      • ‘He's going to come to a number of branches in the road, where he will choose, or events will choose, which road is taken.’
      • ‘My original intent was to ride all three branches of Metro North's New Haven Line in Connecticut.’
      • ‘Beyond a collection of compact, stone cottages, which were contemporaries of the Seadog's Roost, a minor branch of the road curved to the left.’
      • ‘Georgia was also on one of the branches of the Silk Road, which carried trade from China and India to Europe.’
      • ‘Farther upstream, two branches of the river offer wilder rainbows and brook trout.’
      • ‘In the Rio Negro, it inhabits the large swamps that form where tributaries meet the main branch of the river.’
      tributary, feeder, side stream
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    2. 1.2 A division or office of a large business or organization, operating locally or having a particular function.
      ‘he went to work at our Birmingham branch’
      • ‘He said he had an opportunity to open a branch office for an established document-imaging business that two friends of his had started in another state.’
      • ‘In the Rangoon division, 18 out of 40 branch offices are now operating, with nine permitted to put up their old signboards.’
      • ‘Not only is the branch post office of essential use to the people of the community, but it also is a centre of vital community communication and a social meeting place.’
      • ‘The layoffs affected 14 employees locally and 11 in branch offices.’
      • ‘Experienced branch managers will operate the elevators.’
      • ‘In most cases of loan default, the axe always falls on the branch manager and middle-level officers.’
      • ‘Postbank operates 30 branches and 93 offices across the country and is represented in about 2300 post offices in Bulgaria.’
      • ‘He was surprised by the willingness of branch managers to merge businesses and share common facilities without head office intervention.’
      • ‘Twenty-eight locally registered banks and six branches of foreign banks operate in the country.’
      • ‘The branch managers and compliance officers failed in their duty.’
      • ‘This organization replaced an association of NGOs working for alcohol abstinence and had branch offices operating on regional and local levels.’
      • ‘The idea is to make it easier for small businesses and branch offices to manage security risks more efficiently by using a single appliance.’
      • ‘Post Office bosses say there are too many branches chasing too little business.’
      • ‘Remote workers, branch offices and small businesses have all been persuaded of the advantages of the appliance route.’
      • ‘It ran a big trading business and had branch offices in many locations such as Osaka, Kobe and Hokkaido.’
      • ‘Instead of being located in branches, business bank managers are being rehoused in three centralised sites in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.’
      • ‘The arrangement breaks down the division between headquarters and branch offices.’
      • ‘As the leading bank for businesses, with a network of over 1600 branches and 1400 business managers, no one is better placed to help businesses succeed.’
      • ‘This program aims at strengthening the influence of the branch organizations and helping the harmonization of the local legislation with that of the Union.’
      • ‘The unions, which function as virtual corporate branch offices, immediately got the message.’
      division, subdivision, section, subsection, department, sector, part, side, wing
      office, bureau, agency
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    3. 1.3 A conceptual subdivision of a family, subject, group of languages, etc.
      ‘a branch of mathematics called graph theory’
      • ‘Because in India, family bonding is still strong, and marriage is one occasion where distant branches of the family are remembered and invited.’
      • ‘Two branches of the family came out to Australia together in 1878.’
      • ‘Which of us, after all, has grown up in an apartment block specifically built to house, on each of its eight floors, a different branch of our own family?’
      • ‘The Estonian language is a branch of the Baltic-Finnish group of the Finno-Ugric family, related to Finnish.’
      • ‘Over the years some branches of the family have been blighted by a congenital heart defect but Mrs Pike's illness was coincidental, say friends, because she was adopted.’
      • ‘And we will head out to my great-grandmother's place to meet with the branch of the family I'd rather not meet.’
      • ‘Thus, Sanskrit, instead of being the mother of all Indo-European languages, became just a branch of their huge family.’
      • ‘Greyhounds, red dragons and portcullises belonging to heraldry of various family branches finish off the decorations.’
      • ‘All the national languages, with the exception of the official language, English, are Bantu, a branch of the Niger-Congo language family.’
      • ‘The family now had branches firmly settled in Michigan and Massachusetts.’
      • ‘It belongs to the Tibeto-Burman branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.’
      • ‘Serbo-Croatian belongs to the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family.’
      • ‘Family branches take turns to host the ceremony, with the expenditure shared by the whole village.’
      • ‘Hungarian belongs to the Ugor branch of the Finno-Ugric language family.’
      • ‘Otherwise, the tongues spoken in Indonesia belong to several branches of the Austronesian language family.’
      • ‘Russian is one of three East Slavic languages of the Slavic branch of the Indo-European language family.’
      • ‘I have a feeling you and I are from different branches of the same family!’
      • ‘Now I must explain that my family - or branches thereof - have lived in South Africa for 154 years.’
      • ‘A new branch of the English language has emerged to describe the shady practice, with phishing, pharming, keylogging and spyware among the recently coined words.’
      • ‘There are many differences between these two branches of the language, and this word is one instance.’


[no object]
  • 1(of a road or path) divide into one or more subdivisions.

    ‘follow this track south until it branches into two’
    • ‘I glanced to my right, where the road had many branching paths that led to houses down the way, including my own.’
    • ‘The route branched through some of the most difficult terrain of western China and arrived 9600 km west, then north, to Shaanxi.’
    • ‘Every so often Erik would stop and feel against the wall, and every time he did they changed direction into a new passage that branched into the previous one they were traveling down.’
    • ‘He rose to his feet, and then leapt back when a loud roar issued from one of the many passages branching from the cavern.’
    • ‘Every path they searched branched into more paths, which branched into more paths.’
    • ‘A wide cobblestone path flowed through the park, along with several branching pathways.’
    • ‘There was a conservatory situated a small distance behind the house, and a small path branched from the driveway to the door.’
    • ‘The methionine biosynthesis pathways differ also at the point where threonine and methionine biosynthesis pathways branch.’
    • ‘Here, the cobbled street branched to form the perimeter of a paved rectangle containing two ornate fountains and a statue of a mounted king which had been hauled down and partly dismembered.’
    • ‘It is an insidious cancer of the lymphatic system, which branches into all the organs.’
    • ‘However, their arms are very highly forked and branched, and even more flexible than those of brittle stars.’
    • ‘At this point, it branches into the cephalic vein on the lateral aspect of the biceps muscle and the basilic vein on the medial side of the muscle.’
    • ‘In the centre of the village, a small side road branched away and climbed a steep brae beyond the houses and back gardens.’
    • ‘When the main path bears slightly right towards a bench, leave it via a path branching to the left of the main path and running uphill through the trees.’
    • ‘To explore this loop road, turn left at the Main Junction and follow the road branching south.’
    • ‘You don't have the freedom to go everywhere, but you must often select from branching paths.’
    • ‘Approximately halfway between the mayor's house and the village, the path branched.’
    • ‘Soon the crack widened, however, and their path branched down into the darkness.’
    • ‘Draw the lines into the future, imagine the ways in which they'd split and branch, imagine a million hearts that will never flutter into life.’
    fork, bifurcate, divide, subdivide, split, separate, go in different directions
    diverge from, deviate from, depart from, turn aside from, shoot off from, split off from, go off at a tangent from
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    1. 1.1branch off Diverge from the main route or part.
      ‘the road branched off at the market town’
      • ‘At a certain point, we saw several people branching off from the main march and, along with other Council activists, we went to see what was happening.’
      • ‘I pointed along a narrow dirt path that branched off the main access road.’
      • ‘Nestle into one of several campsites at the base of the 300-foot-tall amphitheater, and explore the many slots and dry waterfalls branching off from Labyrinth's main canyon.’
      • ‘The trail around the tarn is a favourite for families, with plenty of play opportunities in water and woodland, and lots of optional tracks branching off from the main path.’
      • ‘Some RTC buses branched off from the main roads to find emergency escape routes like by-lanes, already jammed by cars and two-wheelers!’
      • ‘However, paths branched off the main one and led through the various beds of flowers and bushes.’
      • ‘She'd noticed some liver spots on his cheeks, forehead and hands in the last few years, deep lines like streams cascading down his face, with others forming, branching off a main tributary.’
      • ‘In one instance, a fourth and much smaller tunnel appears as the deepest tier owing to branching off from a main tunnel.’
      • ‘Twelve long tendrils stretched out from a central mountain, with smaller mounds branching off from the main stem in a leaf-like pattern and eventually tapering down to become one with the landscape.’
      • ‘We continued more sedately through open country of varying steepness to the crossover point where routes branch off to different villages in the Prättigau valley.’
      • ‘As I passed into an unfamiliar area of the town, a small alley that branched off of the main street, I heard a cry.’
      • ‘Another path branches off from the main one, but they walk past it.’
      • ‘For walkers, a narrow, rocky path, with steps in places, branches off the main track before the last bridge, and follows the Greta beneath the A66.’
      • ‘They backtracked far into the cave, away into one of the tunnels that branched off from the main one, and finally into a small cavern.’
      • ‘Feedback has so far been extremely positive about the exterior of the glass-fronted building and its internal design, which features an indoor avenue that branches off to the four main galleries.’
      • ‘I led the way into one of the back halls that branched off the main room.’
      • ‘Streets are carved out of the landscape as veins branching off a main artery, with framed vistas across the harbor.’
      • ‘It branched off the main path and was rarely used.’
      • ‘Building styles from throughout the country branch off from a main square, showing the visitor a miniature Spain.’
      • ‘A more adventurous method would be to simply explore each road radiating from the main junction or branching off into narrow arteries, and you'll be bound to hit the same spots, more or less.’
      swerve, career, skew, swing, sheer, weave, wheel
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    2. 1.2branch out Extend or expand one's activities or interests in a new direction.
      ‘the company is branching out into Europe’
      • ‘I think I would be more interested in branching out and making other types of pop culture.’
      • ‘The company was looking to expand and to branch out from large metropolitan areas.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the auto maker seems to be branching out in all directions at once.’
      • ‘He said the tour has given the band the chance to branch out and explore different directions and to satisfy their eclectic tastes.’
      • ‘She has certainly branched out into more interesting work in recent years.’
      • ‘With this confidence, I branched out into other fitness activities, such as kickboxing and Spinning.’
      • ‘He should spend more time expanding the commercial side of the market before branching out.’
      • ‘Acting is still a great love of mine, but I thought it was time to branch out and expand my world.’
      • ‘From these locations different groups branched out in various directions with different levels of success.’
      • ‘We knew in the early 1990s that we needed to diversify and branched out into a lot of different areas.’
      • ‘The company started life as a shuttle service linking Dublin Airport with the main hotels in the city centre, before branching out beyond Dublin.’
      • ‘What's so attractive about diversifying from the insurance business and branching out into personal loans?’
      • ‘Originally a Reiki practitioner, she has during the years branched out in several directions and is still learning.’
      • ‘Not one to rest on his laurels, the last few years have seen the front man branch out with two diverse releases of his own.’
      • ‘But even with its rise in popularity, instead of branching out its warehouses to bigger cities, the company says its heart lies firmly in Rossendale.’
      • ‘As you may have heard, he has been branching out from talk radio into jurisprudence and constitutional law.’
      • ‘Certainly, they branch out in different directions in attitudes to football management.’
      • ‘With five victories and 13 poles, his interests branched out.’
      • ‘But what she's really excited about is her plan to branch out into directing.’
      • ‘I've gotten a lot of new opportunities I wouldn't have gotten unless I was branching out and doing new things.’
      expand, spread out, open up, extend
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  • 2(of a tree or plant) bear or send out branches.

    ‘this rose has a tendency to branch and spread at the top’
    ‘the branching heads of large yellow daisies’
    • ‘Increased size also allowed more branching and thus more termini per plant.’
    • ‘Pinch the growing tip out of tall-growing plants to encourage branching and shorter growth.’
    • ‘They bring to mind trees, flowers and branching foliage breaking into bloom before our eyes.’
    • ‘Carved from a solid piece of wood, it is clear that the sculptor utilized and perhaps exploited a section of the tree that branched into two areas for the splayed legs.’
    • ‘The basal stems can be confused with those of L. mucronata, but that species has branched basal stems that are prostrate and petiolate basal leaves.’
    • ‘Think of a plant that naturally forms branching stems as a sort of balancing act in slow green motion.’
    • ‘The vascular cambium is a cylindrical region running through the entire stem of the plant, and branching into every twig and limb.’
    • ‘Sporangia are cylindrical and branched, which also distinguishes this plant from all other Rhynie Chert taxa.’
    • ‘High up in one of the larger and more densely branched trees in the area, a man crouched, cursing his luck.’
    • ‘The upright stems branched from creeping branching horizontal rhizomes that bore delicate hair-like roots.’
    • ‘These plants are branched, and carry flowers on strong stems.’
    • ‘Mosses branched from the common ancestor of vascular plants around 400 MYA.’
    • ‘In contrast, shrubs are small woody plants, usually with several perennial stems branching at the base.’
    • ‘She peered up at the tree that branched over them, watched the leaves turn, slip by each other as they passed.’
    • ‘Pinch off stem tips regularly to force side branching and keep the plant dense and bushy.’
    • ‘The chickpea is a delicate, graceful plant that branches near the ground and is usually about 2 feet high.’
    • ‘However, cutting or incomplete pulling can cause the perennation of the plant such that it branches and becomes enlarged.’
    • ‘Bladderworts, whose intricately branched, bladder-bearing stems are completely submerged, send up small aerial stems with inch-long yellow flowers.’
    • ‘Plants show similar repetitive structures in, for example, the veins on a leaf or a tree's branching limbs.’
    • ‘Pinching or shearing new growth forces the plant to branch where you cut it and to build up a strong undercarriage that supports heavier top growth later in the season.’


Middle English: from Old French branche, from late Latin branca ‘paw’.