1 [purch]
a pole or rod, usually horizontal, serving as a roost for birds.
any place or object, as a sill, fence, branch, or twig, for a bird, animal, or person to alight or rest upon.
a high or elevated position, resting place, or the like.
a small, elevated seat for the driver of any of certain vehicles.
a pole connecting the fore and hind running parts of a spring carriage or other vehicle.
a post set up as a navigational aid on a navigational hazard or on a buoy.
a linear or square rod.
a measure of volume for stone, about 24 cubic feet (0.7 cubic meters).
Textiles. an apparatus consisting of two vertical posts and a horizontal roller, used for inspecting cloth after it leaves the loom.
Obsolete. any pole, rod, or the like.
verb (used without object)
to alight or rest upon a perch.
to settle or rest in some elevated position, as if on a perch.
verb (used with object)
to set or place on or as if on a perch.
to inspect (cloth) for defects and blemishes after it has been taken from the loom and placed upon a perch.

1250–1300; Middle English perche < Old French < Latin pertica pole, staff, measuring rod

perchable, adjective
unperched, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
perch1 (pɜːtʃ)
1.  a pole, branch, or other resting place above ground on which a bird roosts or alights
2.  a similar resting place for a person or thing
3.  another name for rod
4.  a solid measure for stone, usually taken as 198 inches by 18 inches by 12 inches
5.  a pole joining the front and rear axles of a carriage
6.  a frame on which cloth is placed for inspection
7.  obsolete, dialect or a pole
8.  (usually foll by on) to alight, rest, or cause to rest on or as if on a perch: the bird perched on the branch; the cap was perched on his head
9.  (tr) to inspect (cloth) on a perch
[C13 perche stake, from Old French, from Latin pertica long staff]

perch2 (pɜːtʃ)
n , pl perch, perches
1.  any freshwater spiny-finned teleost fish of the family Percidae, esp those of the genus Perca, such as P. fluviatilis of Europe and P. flavescens (yellow perch) of North America: valued as food and game fishes
2.  any of various similar or related fishes
Related: percoid
[C13: from Old French perche, from Latin perca, from Greek perkē; compare Greek perkos spotted]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"where a bird rests," late 13c., "a pole, rod, stick, stake," from O.Fr. perche "unit of linear measurement" (5.5 yards), also "measuring rod, pole, bar" used to measure this length (13c.), from L. pertica "pole, long staff, measuring rod," related to Oscan perek "pole," Umbrian perkaf "twigs, rods."
Meaning "a bar fixed horizontally for a hawk or tame bird to rest on" is attested from late 14c.; this led to general sense of "any thing that any bird alights or rests on" (late 15c.). Figurative sense of "an elevated or secure position" is recorded from 1520s. The verb is first recorded late 14c., from the noun. The "land-measuring rod" sense also was in M.E., hence surviving meaning "measure of land equal to a square lineal perch" (usually 160 to the acre), mid-15c.

"spiny-finned freshwater fish," c.1300, from O.Fr. perche, from L. perca "perch," from Gk. perke, from PIE base *perk-/*prek- "speckled, spotted" (cf. Skt. prsnih "speckled, variegated;" Gk. perknos "dark-colored," perkazein "to become dark").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The host swung toward that wide table with several figures seated around it,
  their laptops perched at hand.
Inside, cashew trees frame a cluster of gauzy mesh cages perched on a platform.
Visit the forests and you might encounter noisy flocks of sooty babblers
  perched in bamboo thickets.
The missile would be hatched and perched on a pedestal in preparation for
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