birching

birch

[burch]
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
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:
before 900; Middle English birche, Old English birce; cognate with Old High German birka (German Birke); akin to Sanskrit bhūrja kind of birch

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World English Dictionary
birch (bɜːtʃ)
 
n
1.  See also silver birch any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula, having thin peeling bark
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
 
adj
4.  of, relating to, or belonging to the birch
5.  consisting or made of birch
 
vb
6.  (tr) to flog with a birch
 
[Old English bierce; related to Old High German birihha, Sanskrit bhūrja]
 
'birchen
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

birch
O.E. beorc (also the name of the rune for "b"), from P.Gmc. *berkjon (O.S. birka, O.N. börk, Swed. björk, Du. berk, Ger. Birke), from PIE *bhergo (cf. Ossetian barz, O.C.S. breza, Rus. bereza, Lith. beras, Skt. bhurjah, L. farnus, fraxinus "mountain ash"), from base *bhereg- "to gleam, white."
Meaning "bunch of birch twigs used for flogging" (1640s) led to verb meaning "to flog" (1830). Birch beer is 1883, Amer.Eng.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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