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 The final, touching images see the parent and child raccoon again perched safely up on their tree branch, in the woods. oregonlive, 4 Jan. 2022 Morton Arboretum herbarium director and plant systematist Andrew Hipp would lead an audit of the molecular makeup of any samples from the trip before slotting them into their rightful branch on the tree of life. Marion Renault, The New Republic, 20 Dec. 2021 The idea that a third hominin species—in the same time and place as A. afarensis, at that—was evolving for bipedalism on its own branch of the family tree is a fascinating one. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 6 Dec. 2021 The company has recently reinforced its distribution-sales branch with the appointment of Zoe Turpin, who will head up its international sales department, rolling off experience gained working at Arte, Newen and and Disney. Emilio Mayorga, Variety, 30 Nov. 2021 Military personnel face their own deadlines depending on their service branch. Anne Flaherty, ABC News, 22 Nov. 2021 The Alaskan financial cooperative opened its 12th branch early this month. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Nov. 2021 As the City has a Council-Manager form of municipal government whereby the City Manager serves as the chief executive officer of the City and the head of its administrative branch, the business of the City is unaffected. Antonio Planas, NBC News, 16 Nov. 2021 Outside of their landmark 42nd street branch, their iconic lion marble statues wore masks. Elise Taylor, Vogue, 9 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb First, Anthony loans out a hot fella from Hot Fellas Bread to carry Carrie up her stairs upon returning from the hospital (should Hot Fellas Bread permanently branch out? Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 30 Dec. 2021 New monetary opportunities may arise, so seven invites you to branch out and explore possibilities beyond your comfort zone. Aliza Kelly, Allure, 24 Dec. 2021 And to branch out, many brands partner with social media influencers to reach a community of people who have shared interests or characteristics that fit their brand message. Nishat Mehta, Forbes, 12 Nov. 2021 In 2007, Tolman decided to branch out further, running a factory race team for Ginetta and the GT4 driver development program for McLaren, among other endeavors. Tim Pitt, Robb Report, 17 Sep. 2021 The conspiracy theories branch out from there, in their own kind of evolutionary tree. Carolyn Kormann, The New Yorker, 12 Oct. 2021 Otherwise we’re headed for a social order remade from root to branch in the image of college administrators and other reckless graspers after self-actualizing social status. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 24 July 2021 Things aren’t easier for women who branch off to start their own enterprise software businesses, experts say. Isabelle Bousquette, WSJ, 8 Dec. 2021 The wine has a global focus, with a price point that everyone is going to find something, and hopefully people will branch out a bit. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27 Nov. 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

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Branch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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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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