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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Branch n.; pl. Branches
 1. Bot. A shoot or secondary stem growing from the main stem, or from a principal limb or bough of a tree or other plant.
 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.   --W. Irving.
 3. Any member or part of a body or system; a distinct article; a section or subdivision; a department. Branches of knowledge.”
    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.   --Carew.
 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.