Definition of birchbark in US English:


(also birch bark)


  • 1The impervious bark of the North American paper birch, Betula papyrifera, used, especially formerly by North American Indians, to make canoes and containers.

    ‘stretch the birchbark over a cedar frame’
    as modifier ‘birchbark baskets’
    • ‘Although these canoes are covered with birchbark, this skin, like that of a kayak, is stretched over a framework of ribs and spars.’
    • ‘Postwar aluminum canoes not only were built out of an entirely new and different material, but were also shaped by heavy-duty industrial machinery rather than crafted by hand, as were birchbark and wood and canvas canoes.’
    • ‘Larger cod tend to be found farther to sea, moreover, so the effect of fishing on the mean adult size of cod should have been relatively low in the era of birchbark canoes.’
    • ‘In 1855, HBC Chief Factor James Anderson and Chief Trader James Stewart approached from the south, via the estuary of the Great Fish River [now the Back River], in two birchbark canoes.’
    • ‘In this text Vizenor attempts to balance the issues of heard language and literary language as well as the codification of bear presences that are also present in the traditional birchbark scrolls.’
    • ‘On his head he wore a conical hat made of birchbark.’
    • ‘The finished bows (with an exception of Turkish flight bows) were richly decorated with painted and gilded leather or birchbark.’
    1. 1.1US A canoe made of birchbark.
      • ‘It was employed to create splints for making baskets, skin an animal, fashion snowshoes, harpoons, spears, bowls, and ladles, and make a birchbark canoe.’
      • ‘In essence, the only substantial difference between a birchbark and a wood and canvas canoe is the replacement of birch bark with canvas.’
      • ‘We build birchbark canoes using historically documented methods and materials.’
      • ‘Much of this is devoted to the birchbark canoes of the Dogrib Indians, which in many ways are constructed and look like a cross between the birchbark canoes of the more southerly Indians and the kayaks of the Inuit.’
      • ‘I built a birchbark canoe in 1999.’