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I’m not the only one.

Curious about the difference between a branch and twig, I mean.

I was picking up an assortment of branches and/or twigs last week at work, ones that had fallen due to the massive winds we had earlier last week. (Barometric pressures in Minnesota were at an all-time low, reaching measurements typically seen only with hurricanes. Oh, yeah, baby, it was wicked. The dog went crazy when I had him out in it.)

As I was picking and piling, two things went through my mind …. “One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door. Five, six, pick up sticks. ….” And, what’s the difference between a branch and a twig? As I pondered this latter question, I thought maybe it had to do with size and/or branchiness. A branch seems as though it ought to be bigger than a twig, and a branch, by definition, ought to have branchiness to it – lots of little offshoots, whereas a twig would be a branch with the branches removed.

Not one to trust my own judgment on this matter, I checked the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition) for definitions. Right off the bat I noticed that branch took up more real estate in the dictionary. Concerning myself only with the definition related to tree branches, I found this:

“A natural subdivision of a plant stem; esp: a secondary shoot or stem (as a bough) arising from a main axis (as of a tree).”

Twig is defined as “a small shoot or branch usu. without its leaves”.

So, a twig is smaller than a branch because a twig is found on a branch, except for that whole being a branch thing mentioned within the definition, which is totally not helpful in making my case. Humph!

Time for Google, which is where I discovered that I’m not the only one who thinks of these non-earth-shattering burning questions.

Compiled for your pleasure, a selection of internet answers to the twig/branch question, with a stick and log thrown in for good measure:

ChaCha – What’s the difference between a branch and a twig?

Yahoo! Answers – What is the difference between a twig and a stick?

kgb answers – Whats the difference between a stick a twig a branch and a log

Sactree.com – The Anatomy of a Tree – Scroll to the True Branches section on page 3. It indicates that a twig is an early stage of a branch.