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birch

[burch] /bɜrtʃ/
noun
1.
any tree or shrub of the genus Betula, comprising species with a smooth, laminated outer bark and close-grained wood.
Compare birch family.
2.
the wood itself.
3.
a birch rod, or a bundle of birch twigs, used especially for whipping.
adjective
4.
verb (used with object)
5.
to beat or punish with or as if with a birch:
The young ruffians were birched soundly by their teacher.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English birche, Old English birce; cognate with Old High German birka (German Birke); akin to Sanskrit bhūrja kind of birch
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for birch
  • The desk is also made of birch, its edge gently curved to echo the ceiling's lines.
  • To create your own instant workspace anywhere, put a flat birch hollow-core door atop two adjustable sawhorses.
  • They're catching chickens and gathering damp birch sticks.
  • If the leaf contains carotene, birch trees for example, the fading leaf changes from green to yellow.
  • Wonder if there's a link with the brewing of wine from birch sap, or the use of lichens to brew beer.
  • In spring there will be a profusion of redbud and birch trees on the promenade.
  • Gray birch has strong terminal growth and is typically well-formed with relatively small diameter branches.
  • River birch is the only spring seed-dispersing member of its family.
  • birch wood is finegrained and pale in colour, often with an attractive satinlike sheen.
  • birch wood is also a common material used in mallets for keyboard percussion.
British Dictionary definitions for birch

birch

/bɜːtʃ/
noun
1.
any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula, having thin peeling bark See also silver birch
2.
the hard close-grained wood of any of these trees
3.
the birch, a bundle of birch twigs or a birch rod used, esp formerly, for flogging offenders
adjective
4.
of, relating to, or belonging to the birch
5.
consisting or made of birch
verb
6.
(transitive) to flog with a birch
Derived Forms
birchen, adjective
Word Origin
Old English bierce; related to Old High German birihha, Sanskrit bhūrja
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for birch
n.

Old English berc, beorc (also the name of the rune for "b"), from Proto-Germanic *berkjon (cf. Old Saxon birka, Old Norse börk, Danish birk, Swedish björk, Middle Dutch berke, Dutch berk, Old High German birihha, German Birke), from PIE *bhergo (cf. Ossetian barz, Old Church Slavonic breza, Russian bereza, Lithuanian beržas, Sanskrit bhurjah, Latin farnus, fraxinus "mountain ash"), from root *bhereg- "to gleam, white." Meaning "bunch of birch twigs used for flogging" (1640s) led to verb meaning "to flog" (1830). Related: Birched; birching. Birch beer is by 1827, American English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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