\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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 His remains are believed somewhere in the spruce-and-birch hills of what is now the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, "How one man’s obsession led to the discovery of a lost WWII pilot," 30 June 2018 The gorgeous curly birch handle offers an ergonomic grip and is carved for a finger guard. The Editors, Outside Online, "Killer Deals on Camping Gear at," 12 June 2018 The Clark’s first video installation features six animations, including one inspired by birch trees on the museum’s campus., "The week ahead: music, theater, art, and more," 13 July 2018 Accordingly, both trees and woodwork play a starring role in its design: A 700-pound cedar pocket door separates the office from the main living area and is textured to look like birch trees. Nancy Keates, WSJ, "A Shoe Executive’s Long-Distance Run to His Oregon Abode," 11 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.

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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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Phrases Related to birch

the birch

Statistics for birch

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for birch

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

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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 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

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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).


a state of commotion or excitement

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