\ 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

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Other Words from birch


birch or birchen \ ˈbər-​chən How to pronounce birchen (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 Near the fireplace as well as on it, there’s a snowman and birch logs set in a large metal bucket, large lanterns with flameless candles, Nordic snowflakes, garland, ribbons and pine cones. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Elaborately decorated Christmas Fantasy House is a festive way to raise funds for children with cancer," 31 Oct. 2019 Enter through 10-foot-tall doors onto Versailles red birch flooring to see the antique limestone fireplace., "Scandinavian-style, Gold Coast brownstone: $3.8M," 26 Oct. 2019 Making birch tar at all is a fairly complex process. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Neanderthal glue was a bigger deal than we thought," 22 Oct. 2019 This find and two tarred tools from Italy and Germany suggest our extinct cousins used birch bark tar as well. Andrew Curry, Science | AAAS, "50,000-year-old, tar-smeared tool shows Neanderthal smarts," 21 Oct. 2019 Aspen, cottonwood, oak and birch leaves turn from green to yellow or gold in the mountain town about two hours north of L.A. Non-native maple trees in the mountain resort’s Village add bright reds. Los Angeles Times, "Where to find fall colors close to L.A.: Big Bear is almost at peak," 18 Oct. 2019 The main species growing there are pine, spruce and birch. The Economist, "How to make use of all of a tree," 17 Oct. 2019 The items included a knife, chisel, bronze sheet fragments, three dress pins, a decorated belt box, a bronze awl with a birch handle, a bronze spiral and other pieces. Ashley Strickland, CNN, "Bronze Age warrior's belongings recovered from famous battlefield," 15 Oct. 2019 The stately elms, chestnuts and birches that were favored by French royalty are being selectively replaced by species that stand better chances of resisting higher temperatures, new parasites and more volatile precipitation patterns. Helene Fouquet And William Wilkes / Bloomberg, Time, "Climate Change Is Devastating the Lush Gardens of Versailles," 21 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for birch

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for birch

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

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More Definitions for birch


How to pronounce birch (audio)

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
British : 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on birch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for birch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

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