- a division or subdivision of the stem or axis of a tree, shrub, or other plant.
- a limb, offshoot, or ramification of any main stem: the branches of a deer's antlers.
- any member or part of a body or system; a section or subdivision: the various branches of learning.
- a local operating division of a business, library, or the like.
- 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.
- a tributary stream or any stream that is not a large river or a bayou.
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. branch water(def 2).
- 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).
- Computers. a point in a computer program where the computer selects one of two or more instructions to execute, according to some criterion.
- Nautical. a warrant or license permitting a pilot to navigate in certain waters.
- to put forth branches; spread in branches.
- to divide into separate parts or subdivisions; diverge: The main road branches off to the left.
- to expand or extend, as business activities: The bank has plans to branch throughout the state.
- to divide into branches or sections.
- to adorn with needlework; decorate with embroidery, as in textile fabrics.
- branch out, to expand or extend, as business activities, pursuits, interests, etc.: The business is branching out into computers.
Origin of branch
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (intr, adverb often foll by into) to expand or extend one's interestsour business has branched out into computers now
- a secondary woody stem arising from the trunk or bough of a tree or the main stem of a shrub
- a subdivision of the stem or root of any other plant
- an offshoot or secondary parta branch of a deer's antlers
- a subdivision or subsidiary section of something larger or more complexbranches of learning; branch of the family
- (as modifier)a branch office
- US any small stream
- maths a section of a curve separated from the rest of the curve by discontinuities or special points
- Also called: jump computing a departure from the normal sequence of programmed instructions into a separate program area
- an alternative route in an atomic or nuclear decay series
- (intr) (of a tree or other plant) to produce or possess branches
- (intr usually foll by from) (of stems, roots, etc) to grow and diverge (from another part)
- to divide or be divided into subsidiaries or offshoots
- (intr often foll by off) to diverge from the main way, road, topic, etc
Word Origin and History for branch out
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).
"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.
- An offshoot or a division of the main portion of a structure, especially that of a nerve, blood vessel, or lymphatic vessel; a ramus.
Idioms and Phrases with branch out
Separate into subdivisions; strike off in a new direction. For example, Our software business is branching out into more interactive products, or Bill doesn't want to concentrate on just one field; he wants to branch out more. This term alludes to the growth habits of a tree's limbs. [Early 1700s] Also see branch off.