"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[burch] /bɜrtʃ/
any tree or shrub of the genus Betula, comprising species with a smooth, laminated outer bark and close-grained wood.
Compare birch family.
the wood itself.
a birch rod, or a bundle of birch twigs, used especially for whipping.
verb (used with object)
to beat or punish with or as if with a birch:
The young ruffians were birched soundly by their teacher.
Origin of birch
before 900; Middle English birche, Old English birce; cognate with Old High German birka (German Birke); akin to Sanskrit bhūrja kind of birch Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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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


any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula, having thin peeling bark See also silver birch
the hard close-grained wood of any of these trees
the birch, a bundle of birch twigs or a birch rod used, esp formerly, for flogging offenders
of, relating to, or belonging to the birch
consisting or made of birch
(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

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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