The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Branch \Branch\, n.; pl. Branches. [OE. braunche, F. branche,
fr. LL. branca claw of a bird or beast of prey; cf. Armor.
brank branch, bough.]
1. (Bot.) A shoot or secondary stem growing from the main
stem, or from a principal limb or bough of a tree or other
2. Any division extending like a branch; any arm or part
connected with the main body of thing; ramification; as,
the branch of an antler; the branch of a chandelier; a
branch of a river; a branch of a railway.
Most of the branches, or streams, were dried up.
3. Any member or part of a body or system; a distinct
article; a section or subdivision; a department. "Branches
of knowledge." --Prescott.
It is a branch and parcel of mine oath. --Shak.
4. (Geom.) One of the portions of a curve that extends
outwards to an indefinitely great distance; as, the
branches of an hyperbola.
5. A line of family descent, in distinction from some other
line or lines from the same stock; any descendant in such
a line; as, the English branch of a family.
His father, a younger branch of the ancient stock.
6. (Naut.) A warrant or commission given to a pilot,
authorizing him to pilot vessels in certain waters.
Branches of a bridle, two pieces of bent iron, which bear
the bit, the cross chains, and the curb.
Branch herring. See Alewife.
Root and branch, totally, wholly.
Syn: Bough; limb; shoot; offshoot; twig; sprig.