birching








noun

  1. any tree or shrub of the genus Betula, comprising species with a smooth, laminated outer bark and close-grained wood.Compare birch family.
  2. the wood itself.
  3. a birch rod, or a bundle of birch twigs, used especially for whipping.

adjective

  1. birchen.

verb (used with object)

  1. to beat or punish with or as if with a birch: The young ruffians were birched soundly by their teacher.

noun

  1. any betulaceous tree or shrub of the genus Betula, having thin peeling barkSee also silver birch
  2. the hard close-grained wood of any of these trees
  3. the birch a bundle of birch twigs or a birch rod used, esp formerly, for flogging offenders

adjective

  1. of, relating to, or belonging to the birch
  2. consisting or made of birch

verb

  1. (tr) to flog with a birch
n.

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.

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