Denotation vs. Connotation


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for boughs
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It was in the early summer, and the foliage was green above him as the boughs swayed gently to and fro in the morning breeze.

    Tales of Fantasy and Fact Brander Matthews
  • Just beneath at the first forking of the boughs a candle burned.

    Bride of the Mistletoe James Lane Allen
  • In a word, Gothic vaulting and tracery have been studiously made like to boughs of trees.

    Health and Education Charles Kingsley
  • How steady it was as it moved among the boughs, extinguishing the lights.

    Bride of the Mistletoe James Lane Allen
  • I stooped to avoid the boughs under which my horse carried me.

    With Axe and Rifle W.H.G. Kingston
  • Breaking his way in among the boughs he searched more carefully.

    The Law-Breakers Ridgwell Cullum
  • Here they took some rest, and ate of the fruit that hung from the boughs round them.

  • But the old masters are not satisfied with drawing carrots for boughs.

  • When the tree was finished, and the church had been decked with boughs and holly, they all went home for a well-merited rest.

    Phyllis Dorothy Whitehill
British Dictionary definitions for boughs


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for boughs



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for bough

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for boughs

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for boughs