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[branch, brahnch] /bræntʃ, brɑntʃ/
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.
verb (used without object)
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.
verb (used with object)
to divide into branches or sections.
to adorn with needlework; decorate with embroidery, as in textile fabrics.
Verb phrases
branch out, to expand or extend, as business activities, pursuits, interests, etc.:
The business is branching out into computers.
Origin of branch
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
1. offshoot, shoot. 12. ramify, subdivide.
Synonym Study
1. 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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for unbranched
Historical Examples
  • In structure they are coriaceous, and include plants both with broad and narrow, branched and unbranched fronds.

  • Some of these rays may be unbranched and unjointed, being then known as spines, and usually occupy the front part of the fin.

  • The equally plain distinctions between the branched, unbranched, tubular, and plate-like green alg make them as easy to separate.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • This order is characterized by cylindrical cells strung end to end, forming threads or filaments, branched and unbranched.

    The Sea-beach at Ebb-tide Augusta Foote Arnold
  • The antennules are very large, unbranched and composed of numerous segments; the antenn are much smaller.

    The Life of Crustacea William Thomas Calman
  • An elongated flower-cluster having sessile flowers upon an unbranched axis.

    The Plants of Michigan Henry Allan Gleason
  • As a rule the stem is unbranched, and its growth takes place by a single bud at the summit.

    The Sea Shore William S. Furneaux
  • Each leg bears a collecting brush, composed of stiff, unbranched hairs set closely together.

  • The youngest of these, near the growing point of the stem, are unbranched, but the older ones branch extensively (C).

  • The stem is unbranched, from two to three feet high; and the leaves are lanceolate.

    Field and Woodland Plants

    William S. Furneaux
British Dictionary definitions for unbranched


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 part: a branch of a deer's antlers
  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
(US) any small stream
(maths) a section of a curve separated from the rest of the curve by discontinuities or special points
(computing) Also called jump. a departure from the normal sequence of programmed instructions into a separate program area
an alternative route in an atomic or nuclear decay series
(intransitive) (of a tree or other plant) to produce or possess branches
(intransitive) usually foll by from. (of stems, roots, etc) to grow and diverge (from another part)
to divide or be divided into subsidiaries or offshoots
(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 unbranched



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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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unbranched in Medicine

branch (brānch)
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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Idioms and Phrases with unbranched
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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