Birch Birch (b[~e]rch), n.; pl. {Birches} (-[e^]z). [OE. birche, birk, AS. birce, beorc; akin to Icel. bj["o]rk, Sw. bj["o]rk, Dan. birk, D. berk, OHG. piricha, MHG. birche, birke, G. birke, Russ. bereza, Pol. brzoza, Serv. breza, Skr. bh[=u]rja. [root]254. Cf. 1st {Birk}.] 1. A tree of several species, constituting the genus {Betula}; as, the white or common birch ({Betula alba}) (also called silver birch and lady birch); the dwarf birch ({Betula glandulosa}); the paper or canoe birch ({Betula papyracea}); the yellow birch ({Betula lutea}); the black or cherry birch ({Betula lenta}). [1913 Webster]

2. The wood or timber of the birch. [1913 Webster]

3. A birch twig or birch twigs, used for flogging. [1913 Webster]

Note: The twigs of the common European birch (B. alba), being tough and slender, were formerly much used for rods in schools. They were also made into brooms. [1913 Webster]

The threatening twigs of birch. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

4. A birch-bark canoe. [1913 Webster]

{Birch of Jamaica}, a species ({Bursera gummifera}) of turpentine tree.

{Birch partridge}. (Zo["o]l.) See {Ruffed grouse}.

{Birch wine}, wine made of the spring sap of the birch.

{Oil of birch}. (a) An oil obtained from the bark of the common European birch ({Betula alba}), and used in the preparation of genuine (and sometimes of the imitation) Russia leather, to which it gives its peculiar odor. (b) An oil prepared from the black birch ({Betula lenta}), said to be identical with the oil of wintergreen, for which it is largely sold. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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