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branch

[branch, brahnch] /bræntʃ, brɑntʃ/
noun
1.
a division or subdivision of the stem or axis of a tree, shrub, or other plant.
2.
a limb, offshoot, or ramification of any main stem:
the branches of a deer's antlers.
3.
any member or part of a body or system; a section or subdivision:
the various branches of learning.
4.
a local operating division of a business, library, or the like.
5.
a line of family descent stemming from a particular ancestor, as distinguished from some other line or lines from the same stock; a division of a family.
6.
a tributary stream or any stream that is not a large river or a bayou.
7.
Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. branch water (def 2).
8.
Linguistics. (in the classification of related languages within a family) a category of a lower order than a subfamily and of a higher order than a subbranch or a group, as the Germanic branch of Indo-European.
Compare group (def 4a).
9.
Computers. a point in a computer program where the computer selects one of two or more instructions to execute, according to some criterion.
10.
Nautical. a warrant or license permitting a pilot to navigate in certain waters.
verb (used without object)
11.
to put forth branches; spread in branches.
12.
to divide into separate parts or subdivisions; diverge:
The main road branches off to the left.
13.
to expand or extend, as business activities:
The bank has plans to branch throughout the state.
verb (used with object)
14.
to divide into branches or sections.
15.
to adorn with needlework; decorate with embroidery, as in textile fabrics.
Verb phrases
16.
branch out, to expand or extend, as business activities, pursuits, interests, etc.:
The business is branching out into computers.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English bra(u)nche < Anglo-French; Old French branche < Late Latin branca paw, of uncertain origin
Related forms
branchless, adjective
branchlike, adjective
interbranch, adjective
multibranched, adjective
outbranch, verb (used with object)
unbranched, adjective
unbranching, adjective
underbranch, noun
well-branched, adjective
Can be confused
bough, bow, branch (see synonym study at the current entry)
Synonyms
1. offshoot, shoot. Branch, bough, limb refer to divisions of a tree. Branch is general, meaning either a large or a small division. Bough refers only to the larger branches: a bough loaded with apples. A limb is a large primary division of a tree trunk or of a bough: to climb out on a limb. 12. ramify, subdivide.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for branching
  • The main groups of inflorescences are distinguished by branching.
  • branching of polymer chains also affect the bulk properties of polymers.
British Dictionary definitions for branching

branching

/ˈbrɑːntʃɪŋ/
noun
1.
(physics) the occurrence of several decay paths (branches) in the disintegration of a particular nuclide or the de-excitation of an excited atom. The branching fraction (nuclear) or branching ratio (atomic) is the proportion of the disintegrating nuclei that follow a particular branch to the total number of disintegrating nuclides

branch

/brɑːntʃ/
noun
1.
a secondary woody stem arising from the trunk or bough of a tree or the main stem of a shrub
2.
a subdivision of the stem or root of any other plant
3.
an offshoot or secondary part: a branch of a deer's antlers
4.
  1. a subdivision or subsidiary section of something larger or more complex: branches of learning, branch of the family
  2. (as modifier): a branch office
5.
(US) any small stream
6.
(maths) a section of a curve separated from the rest of the curve by discontinuities or special points
7.
(computing) Also called jump. a departure from the normal sequence of programmed instructions into a separate program area
8.
an alternative route in an atomic or nuclear decay series
verb
9.
(intransitive) (of a tree or other plant) to produce or possess branches
10.
(intransitive) usually foll by from. (of stems, roots, etc) to grow and diverge (from another part)
11.
to divide or be divided into subsidiaries or offshoots
12.
(intransitive) often foll by off. to diverge from the main way, road, topic, etc
See also branch out
Derived Forms
branchless, adjective
branchlike, adjective
branchy, adjective
Word Origin
C13: from Old French branche, from Late Latin branca paw, foot
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 branching

branch

n.

c.1300, braunch, "limb of a tree" (also used of things analogous to it, especially geographic features), from Old French branche "branch, bough, twig; branch of a family" (12c.), from Late Latin branca "footprint," later "a claw, paw," of unknown origin, probably from Gaulish. The connecting notion would be the shape (cf. pedigree). Replaced native bough. Meaning "local office of a business" is first recorded 1817, from earlier sense of "component part of a system" (1690s).

v.

"send out shoots or new limbs," late 14c., also, of blood vessels, family trees, etc., "to be forked," from branch (n.). Meaning "to spread out from a center, radiate" is from c.1400. Related: Branched; branching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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branching in Medicine

branch (brānch)
n.
An offshoot or a division of the main portion of a structure, especially that of a nerve, blood vessel, or lymphatic vessel; a ramus.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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branching in the Bible

a symbol of kings descended from royal ancestors (Ezek. 17:3, 10; Dan. 11:7); of prosperity (Job 8:16); of the Messiah, a branch out of the root of the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1), the "beautiful branch" (4:2), a "righteous branch" (Jer. 23:5), "the Branch" (Zech. 3:8; 6:12). Disciples are branches of the true vine (John 15:5, 6). "The branch of the terrible ones" (Isa. 25:5) is rightly translated in the Revised Version "the song of the terrible ones," i.e., the song of victory shall be brought low by the destruction of Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity. The "abominable branch" is a tree on which a malefactor has been hanged (Isa. 14:19). The "highest branch" in Ezek. 17:3 represents Jehoiakim the king.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with branching
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for branching

radioactive disintegration of a particular species of unstable atomic nucleus or subatomic particle that occurs by two or more different decay processes. Some nuclei of a given radioactive species may, for example, decay by ejecting an electron (negative beta decay) and the rest by ejecting an alpha particle (alpha decay). Thus, 64 percent of any collection of atoms of bismuth-212 decay to polonium-212 by ejecting electrons, while the rest (36 percent) decay to thallium-208 by ejecting alpha particles. The fraction decaying in a particular way is called the branching fraction or branching ratio.

Learn more about branching with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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