Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


a. A secondary woody stem or limb growing from the trunk or main stem of a tree or shrub or from another secondary limb.
b. A lateral division or subdivision of certain other plant parts, such as a root or flower cluster.
2. Something that resembles a branch of a tree, as in form or function, as:
a. A secondary outgrowth or subdivision of a main axis, such as the tine of a deer's antlers.
b. Anatomy An offshoot or a division of the main portion of a structure, especially that of a nerve, blood vessel, or lymphatic vessel; a ramus.
3. A limited part of a larger or more complex unit or system, especially:
a. An area of specialized skill or knowledge, especially academic or vocational, that is related to but separate from other areas: the judicial branch of government; the branch of medicine called neurology.
b. A division of a business or other organization.
c. A division of a family, categorized by descent from a particular ancestor.
d. Linguistics A subdivision of a family of languages, such as the Germanic branch of Indo-European.
a. A tributary of a river.
b. Chiefly Southern US See creek. See Note at run.
c. A divergent section of a river, especially near the mouth.
5. Mathematics A part of a curve that is separated, as by discontinuities or extreme points.
6. Computers
a. A sequence of program instructions to which the normal sequence of instructions relinquishes control, depending on the value of certain variables.
b. The instructions executed as the result of such a passing of control.
7. Chemistry A bifurcation in a linear chain of atoms, especially in an organic molecule where isomeric hydrocarbon groups can vary in the location and number of these bifurcations of the carbon chain.
v. branched, branch·ing, branch·es
1. To put forth a branch or branches; spread by dividing.
2. To come forth as a branch or subdivision; develop or diverge from: an unpaved road that branches from the main road; a theory that branches from an older system of ideas.
3. Computers To relinquish control to another set of instructions or another routine as a result of the presence of a branch.
1. To separate (something) into branches.
2. To embroider (something) with a design of foliage or flowers.
Phrasal Verbs:
branch off
To diverge from a main body or path: a new faction that branched off from an established political party.
branch out
1. To develop branches or tributaries: a river that branches out into a delta.
2. To expand the scope of one's interests or activities: a knitter who branched out into crocheting.

[Middle English, from Old French branche, from Late Latin branca, paw, perhaps from Gaulish *branka; perhaps akin to Lithuanian ranka and Russian *ruka, hand.]

branch′less adj.
branch′y adj.
Synonyms: branch, arm1, fork, offshoot
These nouns denote something resembling or structurally similar to a limb of a tree: a branch of a railroad; an arm of the sea; the western fork of the river; an offshoot of a mountain range.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(General Physics) 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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.branching - the act of branching out or dividing into branches
division - the act or process of dividing
bifurcation - the act of splitting into two branches
trifurcation - the act of splitting into three branches
divarication - branching at a wide angle
fibrillation - act or process of forming fibrils
Adj.1.branching - having branches
branchy - having many branches; "a branchy tree trunk"
2.branching - resembling the branches of a tree
diverging, divergent - tending to move apart in different directions
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in classic literature ?
We shall, when we come to our chapter on Geology, have to refer again to this subject, and I think we shall then see that the diagram throws light on the affinities of extinct beings, which, though generally belonging to the same orders, or families, or genera, with those now living, yet are often, in some degree, intermediate in character between existing groups; and we can understand this fact, for the extinct species lived at very ancient epochs when the branching lines of descent had diverged less.
Within the same large group, the later and more highly perfected sub-groups, from branching out and seizing on many new places in the polity of Nature, will constantly tend to supplant and destroy the earlier and less improved sub-groups.
As buds give rise by growth to fresh buds, and these, if vigorous, branch out and overtop on all sides many a feebler branch, so by generation I believe it has been with the great Tree of Life, which fills with its dead and broken branches the crust of the earth, and covers the surface with its ever branching and beautiful ramifications.
In June 2015, CO-OP Financial Services announced that the unique credit union industry solution of shared branching had reached more than 5,300 locations nationwide, making CO-OP Shared Branch the third largest network among financial institutions -- bigger than Bank of America.
[section] 321, which applies the interstate branching provisions of the National Bank Act, 12 U.S.C.
During the 58--to 80-mm period, extensive branching of the peripheral portions of the facial nerve occurs (figure 10).
Without recognizing the shear-induced imbalance created in a branching runner, developers of injection molding simulation software have used one-dimensional analysis to simplify modeling and provide faster calculations.
In Letter Ruling (TAM) 9933003, the IRS concluded that branching rights received in the acquisition of insolvent Federal savings and loan associations did not constitute "Federal financial assistance" under Sec.
Characterization requires not only the degree of branching, but also the length of branches.
A growing community of molecular architects is now ushering in a new world of huge, branching, tree-shaped chemicals.
"There are about 1,800 credit unions participating in shared branching, offering convenient branch access to more than 52 million members wherever they may travel in the United States," CO-OP Financial Services President and CEO Stan Hollen (pictured) said in a press release.