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 & Midland : 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

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Other Words from branch


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

Synonyms & Antonyms for branch

Synonyms: Noun

bough, limb

Synonyms: Verb

fan (out), radiate, ray

Antonyms: Verb

concentrate, converge, focus, funnel, meet

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Examples of branch in a Sentence


birds singing from the branches of a tree The bank has a new branch in our area. She works at the branch office downtown.


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

The executive branch is where everything is happening. NBC News, "Meet the Press - September 1, 2019," 1 Sep. 2019 The Islamic State, which sometimes clashes with al-Shabab over territory, has a small but active branch operating mostly in northeastern Somalia. Max Bearak, Washington Post, "‘If I don’t pay, they kill me’: Al-Shabab tightens grip on Somalia with growing tax racket," 30 Aug. 2019 Provident, which is based in Redwood Shores, has been around since 1950 and has 20 branches throughout the Bay Area, including in San Jose. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "No joke: San Jose Improv going dark for an interior makeover," 20 Aug. 2019 But if the Air Force chooses to ignore the GAO’s decision, the GAO must notify Congress, which can then take up the matter with the executive branch. Loren Grush, The Verge, "How Blue Origin is trying to rework the rules of the Air Force’s coveted rocket competition," 13 Aug. 2019 While the ability to change the law is reserved for Congress, the executive branch can alter the often technical ways in which it is implemented. Kurtis Alexander,, "Trump weakens Endangered Species Act, California state promises to put up a fight," 12 Aug. 2019 Pollstar ranked the 600-capacity venue, which also has a branch in Las Vegas, New York City’s busiest club venue of the year for 2017 -- and the seventh busiest club venue in the world, with more than 165,000 tickets sold that year. Tatiana Cirisano, Billboard, "Spotlight: Brooklyn Bowl's Talent Booker Lucas Sacks on Landing Guns N' Roses, Lauryn Hill & More for 'Out-of-the-Box' NYC Shows," 2 July 2019 Downtown Dog Lounge already has two branches, each of which takes in about 150 dogs daily. Author: Richard Read, Anchorage Daily News, "Alexa, how many dogs come to work at Amazon Seattle? 7,000," 30 June 2019 The credit union already has a branch in Union Township at Jungle Jim's International Market. Jeanne Houck,, "Former Pizza Hut in Eastgate to be razed for GE credit union," 28 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The company, with origins at San Diego State University and its headquarters in Point Loma, was already working with the Pentagon and was looking to branch into helping non-governmental organizations. San Diego Union-Tribune, "How a San Diego AI company helped bring down an African crime boss," 24 Aug. 2019 The Church of the Highlands, Alabama’s largest church, continues to branch out. Greg Garrison |, al, "Church of the Highlands adds second Auburn branch, plus one in Georgia," 21 Aug. 2019 This road trip starts on Route A35 heading south, before branching off toward landmarks and small villages. Tyler Moss, Condé Nast Traveler, "An Autumnal Road Trip Through Alsace Wine Country," 13 Aug. 2019 Another company that prioritises sound sourcing is Rahua, a hair-care brand that has since branched out into a variety of beauty products, including a Palo Santo fragrance. Thatiana Diaz,, "Why Palo Santo Is More Than Just A "Fragrance Trend"," 25 July 2019 With the end of the Vietnam and Cold wars, Jason members began to branch out from physics and engineering. Ann Finkbeiner, Science | AAAS, "Jason—a secretive group of Cold War science advisers—is fighting to survive in the 21st century," 27 June 2019 It first listeners were in its native Sweden, but Spotify quickly branched out to the U.K. in 2009 and arrived in the U.S. in 2011. Time, "10 Questions With Spotify's Cecilia Qvist," 25 July 2019 Alisha McDonal, known as Alisha Marie on her social media channels, has been on YouTube for over 10 years, but has branched out to other mediums. Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "Worried about YouTube policies, creators look for new ways to bring in money," 11 July 2019 The project also branched out into other cultural undertakings, all under the Mozaika brand. Alan Grabinsky,, "Barcelona’s oldest house is now a Jewish cultural center," 26 June 2019

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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Statistics for branch

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for branch

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

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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 branched (audio) \ adjective

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on branch

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with branch

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for branch

Spanish Central: Translation of branch

Nglish: Translation of branch for Spanish Speakers

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

Comments on branch

What made you want to look up branch? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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