- any tree or shrub of the genus Betula, comprising species with a smooth, laminated outer bark and close-grained wood.Compare birch family.
- the wood itself.
- a birch rod, or a bundle of birch twigs, used especially for whipping.
- to beat or punish with or as if with a birch: The young ruffians were birched soundly by their teacher.
Origin of birch
Examples from the Web for birching
They have not as much as had a birching; and I say that the college masters ought to be hooted.The Channings
Mrs. Henry Wood
Those were the good old days of birching, and yes, Mr. Morris had caught it.Deering of Deal
The birching, bad as it had been, was redoubled in intensity.The Secrets of a Savoyard
Henry A. Lytton
Also, see that you yourself don't go into the storeroom, or I will give you a birching that you won't care for.Dead Souls
Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
You may not believe it, but the governor actually horsed me and gave me a birching; and the diamonds were locked up from that day.The Laughing Mill and Other Stories
- any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula, having thin peeling barkSee also silver birch
- the hard close-grained wood of any of these trees
- the birch a bundle of birch twigs or a birch rod used, esp formerly, for flogging offenders
- of, relating to, or belonging to the birch
- consisting or made of birch
- (tr) to flog with a birch
Word Origin and History for birching
Old English berc, beorc (also the name of the rune for "b"), from Proto-Germanic *berkjon (cf. Old Saxon birka, Old Norse börk, Danish birk, Swedish björk, Middle Dutch berke, Dutch berk, Old High German birihha, German Birke), from PIE *bhergo (cf. Ossetian barz, Old Church Slavonic breza, Russian bereza, Lithuanian beržas, Sanskrit bhurjah, Latin farnus, fraxinus "mountain ash"), from root *bhereg- "to gleam, white." Meaning "bunch of birch twigs used for flogging" (1640s) led to verb meaning "to flog" (1830). Related: Birched; birching. Birch beer is by 1827, American English.