\ 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 Lea Hurst is perched on a hill overlooking rolling lawns, groves of birch trees and the Derwent River. Tina Hillier, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Defiance of Florence Nightingale," 20 Feb. 2020 Finally, beets will also germinate if planted before the birch leaves reach squirrels’-ear size. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Planting outdoors while there’s still snow on the ground? It’s not so crazy, and this might be the year to give it a try," 5 Mar. 2020 The Botanics join Hartford Flavor’s original Wild Moon flavors like cucumber, lavender, rose, chai and birch. Leeanne Griffin,, "Hartford Flavor Company introduces new ‘Wild Moon Botanics’ line," 19 Nov. 2019 But the winter-loving birches Phil planted years ago are stressed and dying. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Branch manager: A visit with the tree whisperer of Brookside Gardens," 22 July 2019 The curly birch handle is a thing of beauty, as is the brightly polished stainless blade. The Editors, Outdoor Life, "The Survival Gear You Want When Things Go Wrong in the Backcountry," 20 Feb. 2020 The birch and aluminum cabinet ensures durability while remaining relatively lightweight, and the speaker itself is both splash-proof and water-resistant. Popular Science, "Great portable speakers for your next outdoor party," 3 Feb. 2020 Stoves with more than four burners and cabinets in maple, cherry and birch make even the most jaded homebuyer swoon. Shannon Cobb Evans, Houston Chronicle, "Realtor View: Add luster to your home before placing on the market," 21 Dec. 2019 Oregon letters assembled in a tree shape, made of Baltic birch veneer and glitter with green or red dots ($7, 4 inches high and 3.5 inches wide), is available on WhiteFoxCrafts’ Etsy shop. oregonlive, "20 Oregon-inspired ornaments: Bigfoot, bridges and other branch-worthy baubles," 2 Dec. 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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Time Traveler for birch

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for birch

Last Updated

2 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Birch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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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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