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[bou] /baʊ/
a branch of a tree, especially one of the larger or main branches.
Origin of bough
before 1000; Middle English bogh, Old English bōg, bōh shoulder, bough; cognate with Old Norse bōgr, Dutch boeg, German Bug, Greek pêchys, Sanskrit bāhu
Related forms
boughless, adjective
underbough, noun
Can be confused
bough, bow, branch (see synonym study at branch)
See branch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bough
  • Jeff slung the rope over a strong bough.
  • It catches its prey by springing down from the bough of a tree.
  • Among the floral offerings were a half-dozen white roses and a bough of holly.
  • Their first two years on the property, the Mahood family lived in a bough hut.
  • Reflected against the sun was a swinging, bough-trimmed tree.
  • Like a glitter-flecked bauble on a snow-flocked bough, this album plays up the holidays' sparkling side.
  • The hummingbird feeder hanging from its lowest bough.
British Dictionary definitions for bough


any of the main branches of a tree
Word Origin
Old English bōg arm, twig; related to Old Norse bōgr shoulder, ship's bow, Old High German buog shoulder, Greek pēkhus forearm, Sanskrit bāhu; see bow³, elbow
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 bough

Old English bog "shoulder, arm," extended in Old English to "twig, branch" (cf. limb (n.1)), from Proto-Germanic *bogaz (cf. Old Norse bogr "shoulder," Old High German buog, German Bug "shoulder, hock, joint"), from PIE *bhagus "elbow, forearm" (cf. Sanskrit bahus "arm," Armenian bazuk, Greek pakhys "forearm"). The "limb of a tree" sense is peculiar to English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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