noun, often attributive
\ ˈbranch How to pronounce branch (audio) \

Definition of branch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 botany : a natural subdivision of a plant stem especially : a secondary shoot or stem (such as a bough) arising from a main axis (as of a tree) pruning the tree's lower branches a swing mounted on a tree branch
2 : something that extends from or enters into a main body or source: such as
a(1) : a stream that flows into another usually larger stream : tributary the river's smaller branches
(2) Southern US and Midland US : creek sense 1
b : a side road or way the railroad's branch line
c : a slender projection (such as the tine of an antler) the branches of a menorah
d mathematics : a distinctive part of a mathematical curve (see curve entry 3 sense 1a(2))
e computers : a part of a computer program executed as a result of a program decision
3 : a part of a complex body: such as
a : a division of a family descending from a particular ancestor the Iranian branch of the family
b : an area of knowledge that may be considered apart from related areas orthopedics and other branches of medicine syntax is a branch of linguistics
c(1) : a division of an organization a branch of the armed services the government's legislative and executive branches
(2) : a separate but dependent part of a central organization the neighborhood branch of the city library
d linguistics : a language group less inclusive than a family (see family entry 1 sense 5c) the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family


branched; branching; branches

Definition of branch (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 botany : to put forth secondary shoots or stems : to put forth branches (see branch entry 1 sense 1) : ramify an elm branching out over the rooftop
2 : to extend in different directions from a main part or point : to spring out (as from a main stem) : diverge where the spring branches off from the river
3 : to develop or derive from a source : to be an outgrowth used with from poetry that branched from religious prose
4 : to extend activities usually used with out the business is branching out into formal wear
5 computers : to follow one of two or more parts of a computer program executed as a result of a program decision : to follow one of two or more branches (see branch entry 1 sense 2e)

transitive verb

1 : to ornament with designs of branches (see branch entry 1 sense 1) branched velvet
2 : to divide up : section

Other Words from branch


branched \ ˈbrancht How to pronounce branch (audio) \ adjective
branchless \ ˈbranch-​ləs How to pronounce branch (audio) \ adjective
branchy \ ˈbran-​chē How to pronounce branch (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for branch

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

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Examples of branch in a Sentence

Noun birds singing from the branches of a tree The bank has a new branch in our area. She works at the branch office downtown. Verb The stream branches from the river near their house. threads branched from the center of the spider web
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Bannon, who didn’t work for the executive branch at the time was in contact with Trump in the days leading up to the attack on Jan. 6. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, 12 Nov. 2021 Assembly leaders have said that Bronson and his administration are overstepping the bounds of the city’s separation of powers, while the administration has said that the Assembly has shown a lack of respect for the executive branch. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Nov. 2021 The Carons said the board had agreed to keep five yellow ribbons, one for each branch of the military. Christine Dempsey,, 10 Nov. 2021 The Senate's version of the bill would give that power to the top military prosecutor for each branch, the same group highlighted as failing to assign properly trained prosecutors in the inspector general report. Norah O'donnell, Megan Towey, CBS News, 8 Nov. 2021 Governor Charlie Baker has also issued a mandate for the executive branch’s 42,000 employees, of which 94 percent were in compliance as of last week., 3 Nov. 2021 Growing destitution could undermine the Taliban’s so-far solid hold on power and serve as a recruiting tool for the local branch of Islamic State, their only significant rival. Saeed Shah, WSJ, 16 Oct. 2021 Florida’s space agency has been working to bring a Space Force training site to the state after the command headquarters for the fledgling military branch landed in Alabama. Jim Turner,, 29 Sep. 2021 Value of salvage collected for the Coronado branch of the Red Cross, $49.17. Merrie Monteagudo, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Fangirl Fantasy has roots in New England, but has since expanded to New York City, Washington, D.C., Richmond, and Seattle, with plans to branch out to Los Angeles and San Francisco., 9 Nov. 2021 In Pevek, one of these loops is the system of pipes that leave the plant, branch out and supply hot water to homes. New York Times, 5 Nov. 2021 Where the brand tends to branch out is limited-edition collaborations with celebrities like Serena Williams and Rashida Jones, or brands like the Flour Shop. Madison Flager, Condé Nast Traveler, 14 Oct. 2021 Visions gives those Japanese studios an opportunity to branch out while still staying true to their roots. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 23 Sep. 2021 That’s because Illumina is trying to branch out from offering sequencing equipment to applying DNA sequencing in a way that’s useful to patients. San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Aug. 2021 For one of Manhattan’s—and thus the world’s—preeminent department stores to branch into this hybrid live-work space shouldn’t be surprising. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 17 Aug. 2021 There are 17 train lines that branch out from the City Loop, which reach further than the tram network, and can often be faster than a tram if journeying more than a couple of miles. Keira Alexander, Travel + Leisure, 16 Aug. 2021 Good music can feel like the most valuable commodity in the world to the people who consume it—and yet the economics of fame, among other factors, encourage artists to branch into other arenas. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 13 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'branch.' 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 branch


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for branch

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French branche, from Late Latin branca paw

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Time Traveler for branch

Time Traveler

The first known use of branch was in the 13th century

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Dictionary Entries Near branch



branch bar

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Statistics for branch

Last Updated

16 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Branch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for branch



English Language Learners Definition of branch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk
: a local office or shop of a company or organization
: a major part of a government



English Language Learners Definition of branch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to divide into smaller parts : to separate into branches


\ ˈbranch How to pronounce branch (audio) \

Kids Definition of branch

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk or from a main division of the trunk
2 : something extending from a main line or body like a branch a branch of a railroad
3 : a division or subordinate part of something a branch of government The bank opened a new branch.

Other Words from branch

branched \ ˈbrancht \ adjective


branched; branching

Kids Definition of branch (Entry 2 of 2)

: to spread or divide into smaller or attached parts : send out a branch It was a long corridor and it branched into other corridors …— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden


\ ˈbranch How to pronounce branch (audio) \

Medical Definition of branch

1 : something that extends from or enters into a main body or source a branch of an artery
2 : an area of knowledge that may be considered apart from related areas pathology is a branch of medicine

Other Words from branch

branch intransitive verb
branched \ ˈbrancht How to pronounce branch (audio) \ adjective



Legal Definition of branch

: a part of a complex body: as
a : one of the three main divisions of the U.S. or a state government — see also executive, judiciary, legislature
b : a division of a business or organization an insurer's branch office — see also branch bank at bank

More from Merriam-Webster on branch

Nglish: Translation of branch for Spanish Speakers

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


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