\ \ [OE] Bough is a word of some antiquity, dispersed far and wide throughout the Indo- European languages, but it is only in English that it has come to mean ‘branch’. It comes ultimately from an Indo-European *bhāghūs; the meaning this had is not altogether clear, but many of its descendants, such as Greek pakhus and Sanskrit bāhús, centre semantically round ‘arm’ or ‘forearm’ (a meaning element which can be discerned in the possibly related bosom).
\ \ Germanic adopted the Indo-European form as *bōgus, with apparently a shift in signification up the arms towards the shoulders (Old English bōg, bōh, Old Norse bógr, and Middle Dutch boech all meant ‘shoulder’, and the Dutch word later came to be applied to the front of a ship – possibly the source of English bow).

Word origins - 2ed. . 2005.

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  • Bough — Bough, n. [OE. bogh, AS. b[=o]g, b[=o]h, bough, shoulder; akin to Icel. b[=o]gr shoulder, bow of a ship, Sw. bog, Dan. bov, OHG. buog, G. bug, and to Gr.? ( for ? ) forearm, Skr. b[=a]hu (for bh[=a]ghu) arm. [root]88, 251. Cf. {Bow} of a ship.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bough — bough; bough·less; bough·pot; …   English syllables

  • bough — [bau] n literary [: Old English; Origin: bog shoulder, bough ] a main branch on a tree …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bough — ► NOUN ▪ a main branch of a tree. ORIGIN Old English «bough or shoulder»; related to BOW(Cf. ↑bow) …   English terms dictionary

  • bough — [ bau ] noun count MAINLY LITERARY a big branch on a tree …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bough — O.E. bog shoulder, arm, extended O.E. to twig, branch (Cf. LIMB (Cf. limb)), from P.Gmc. *bogaz (Cf. O.N. bogr shoulder, O.H.G. buog, Ger. Bug shoulder, hock, joint ), from PIE *bhagus elbow, forearm (Cf. Skt …   Etymology dictionary

  • bough — branch, limb, *shoot …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • bough — [n] branch arm, fork, limb, offshoot, shoot, sprig, sucker; concept 428 …   New thesaurus

  • bough — [bou] n. [ME < OE bog, shoulder or arm, hence twig or branch < IE * bhāgus, elbow and forearm > BOW2] branch of a tree, esp. a main branch …   English World dictionary

  • bough|y — «BOW ee», adjective. having many boughs …   Useful english dictionary

  • Bough — Recorded in the spellings of Bow, Bowe, and Bough, this is usually a surname of English origins. There are at least three possible sources. The first is that it is a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of bows, a vital trade in… …   Surnames reference

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