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From Middle English birche, birk, from Old English bir?e, bier?e, from Proto-Germanic *birkij? (compare West Frisian bjirk, German Birke), variant of *berk? (compare Dutch berk, Swedish björk, Norwegian bjørk), from Proto-Indo-European *b?erH?os (compare Sanskrit ????? (bh?rjá), Lithuanian béržas, Czech b?íza, Ossetian ???? (bærz), Russian ?????? (berjóza)), Latin fraxinus (“ash tree, ash javelin”)).
birch (countable and uncountable, plural birches)
- Any of various trees of the genus Betula, native to countries in the Northern Hemisphere.
- A hard wood taken from the birch tree, typically used to make furniture.
- A stick, rod or bundle of twigs made from birch wood, used for punishment.
- A birch-bark canoe.
- to punish with a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.
- to punish as though one were using a stick, bundle of twigs, or rod made of birch wood.