See also: Bough


Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English bough, bowe, bogh, boȝe, boȝ, from Old English bōh, bōg (arm; shoulder; bough), from Proto-Germanic *bōguz (upper arm; shoulder) (compare German Bug (shoulder, hock, joint)), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰeh₂ǵʰús (forearm, elbow) (compare Ancient Greek πῆχυς (pêkhus, forearm), Old Armenian բազուկ (bazuk, arm, forearm, bough), Persian بازو(bāzu, upper arm), Sanskrit बाहु (bāhú, arm)).



bough (plural boughs)

  1. A firm branch of a tree.
    When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Deuteronomy 24:20:
      When thou beatest thine oliue tree thou shalt not goe ouer the boughes againe: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherlesse, and for the widow.
    • 1819 May, John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, in Lamia, Isabella, the Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, London: Printed [by Thomas Davison] for Taylor and Hessey, [], published 1820, OCLC 927360557, stanza 3, page 114:
      Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed / Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; [...]
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, in The Celebrity:
      Now we plunged into a deep shade with the boughs lacing each other overhead, and crossed dainty, rustic bridges over the cold trout-streams, the boards giving back the clatter of our horses' feet: or anon we shot into a clearing, with a colored glimpse of the lake and its curving shore far below us.
    • 2013, J. M. Coetzee, The Childhood of Jesus. Melbourne, Australia: The Text Publishing Company, chapter 18. p. 172:
      A pair of birds settle on the bough above them, murmuring together, ready to roost.
  2. (obsolete, poetic) The gallows.

Derived termsEdit


Further readingEdit

  • bough” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2021.