\ ˈbərch How to pronounce birch (audio) \

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

Other Words from birch


birch or birchen \ ˈbər-​chən How to pronounce birch (audio) \ adjective

Examples of birch in a Sentence

Noun a cabinet made of birch In those days, schoolchildren got the birch when they misbehaved. Verb students at the private school were once routinely birched for violating the rules always a stern disciplinarian, our father birched anyone who talked back
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The rooftop Observatory level showcases individual dining and relaxation areas shaded by birch trees framing views of Manhattan, New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Jeffrey Steele, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 In the Klamath Basin, the region of Oregon with large birch borer issues, it is specifically recommended that firewood not be transported for fear of spreading the pest. oregonlive, 5 Dec. 2021 Target With a Scandi-chic solid birch lid and compartments made from the same glossy plastic that’s used to make Legos, this cheerful storage box will certainly brighten up the desk-scape of anyone on your list. Chichi Offor,, 4 Dec. 2021 The 19-year-old Syrian's final resting place among the birch trees was thousands of miles from his homeland. Patrick Reevell, ABC News, 21 Nov. 2021 This week, a crew from Greatland Tree Service pruned tall birch trees next to Denis Mayberry’s East Anchorage home. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, 29 Oct. 2021 Witnesses said their quiet neighborhood of wooden houses and birch trees was turned into a scene of terrifying cries and turmoil. Arkansas Online, 15 Oct. 2021 Birds most often carry seed to a birch tree, branches of which are 15 feet away. Jim Williams, Star Tribune, 22 June 2021 Across the Falls Road, Robert Simmons is buried beneath a birch tree close to the top of Belfast City Cemetery, where the ground slopes up toward the Black Mountain that overlooks the city. NBC News, 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Find yellow aspen and birch along the shoreline and red maples inland. Kerri Westenberg, Star Tribune, 11 Sep. 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for birch

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

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Last Updated

5 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Birch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

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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 punishment of being hit with a birch stick


\ ˈbərch How to pronounce birch (audio) \

Kids Definition of birch

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

More from Merriam-Webster on birch

Nglish: Translation of birch for Spanish Speakers

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


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