\ˈbərch \

Definition of birch 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : any of a genus (Betula of the family Betulaceae, the birch family) of monoecious deciduous trees or shrubs having simple petioled leaves and typically a layered membranous outer bark that peels readily

2 : the hard pale close-grained wood of a birch

3 : a birch rod or bundle of twigs for flogging


birched; birching; birches

Definition of birch (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to beat with or as if with a birch : whip

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from birch


birch or birchen \ˈbər-​chən \ adjective

Examples of birch in a Sentence


a cabinet made of birch In those days, schoolchildren got the birch when they misbehaved.


students at the private school were once routinely birched for violating the rules always a stern disciplinarian, our father birched anyone who talked back
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

At Midnight Rambler, for instance, a drink with a rich genealogy involving the maple and birch sugaring traditions of the Ojibwe tribe, is reduced to a list of ingredients: Texas Rye Whiskey, Pippali Birch, Maple, Angostura. Elizabeth G. Dunn, WSJ, "My Cocktail’s Smarter Than Yours: A Guide to the World’s Brainiest Bar Menus," 12 July 2018 The drawers are made of birch plywood commonly used in the 1970s, instead of the solid wood typical today. Katerina Ang, WSJ, "The Return of the Luxurious Retro Kitchen," 12 Sep. 2018 Harry and Meghan used florist Philippa Craddock to design their wedding flowers, and the couple included white garden roses, foxgloves, and peonies, along with branches of beech, birch, and hornbeam in their arrangements. Maggie Maloney, Town & Country, "What Flowers Will Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank Have At Their Wedding?," 12 July 2018 Prune maples and birches in summer and pines in winter. Dan Gill,, "How to properly prune a tree," 13 Jan. 2018 Here, the company’s mines sink into the earth amid a wilderness of birches and snow, sparkling and pristine. Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times, "A Diamond Giant Plays Up Its Russian Ties to Appeal to Americans," 11 July 2018 While the lawn and paving for an 800-person-capacity natural amphitheater are still being installed, the plastic has been removed from wooden seating, and a small cluster of birches looks at home amid a circle of low stone pavers. John King,, "S.F.’s long-awaited Salesforce Transit Center sets opening date for Aug. 12," 10 July 2018 An integrated Baltic birch banquette and custom dining table provide ample seating and circulation space. Marni Elyse Katz,, "Sisters build a relaxed summer retreat in coastal Maine," 15 June 2018 The interior boasts concrete stairs, birch plywood walls, and neutral toned furniture. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Prefab modern lake house is powered by the sun," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'birch.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of birch


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1808, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for birch


Middle English, from Old English beorc; akin to Old High German birka birch, Old English beorht bright, and probably to Latin fraxinus ash tree — more at bright

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about birch

Statistics for birch

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for birch

The first known use of birch was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for birch



English Language Learners Definition of birch

: a type of tree that has outer bark which can be pulled off easily

: the hard, pale wood of the birch

the birch : the punishment of being hit with a birch stick


\ˈbərch \

Kids Definition of birch

: a tree with hard wood and a smooth bark that can be peeled off in thin layers

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on birch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with birch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for birch

Spanish Central: Translation of birch

Nglish: Translation of birch for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of birch for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about birch

Comments on birch

What made you want to look up birch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!