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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 *bʰāǵʰus (forearm, elbow) (compare Ancient Greek πῆχυς (pêkhus, forearm), Old Armenian բազուկ (bazuk, arm, forearm, bough), Persian بازو(bāzu, upper arm), Sanskrit बाहु (bahus, arm)).


  • IPA(key): /baʊ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Homophone: bow
  • Rhymes: -aʊ


bough (plural boughs)

  1. A firm branch of a tree.
    When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall.
    • 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