branch / branch/ • n. a part of a tree that grows out from the trunk or from a bough. ∎ a lateral extension or subdivision extending from the main part of something, typically one extending from a river, road, or railway: a branch of the Susquehanna River. ∎ a division or office of a large business or organization, operating locally or having a particular function: he went to work at our Boston branch. ∎ a conceptual subdivision of something, esp. a family, group of languages, or a subject: a branch of mathematics called graph theory. ∎ Comput. a control structure in which one of several alternative sets of program statements is selected for execution. • v. [intr.] (of a road or path) divide. ∎ (of a tree or plant) bear or send out branches. ∎ (branch off) diverge from the main route or part: the road branched off at the town. ∎ (branch out) extend or expand one's activities or interests in a new direction: the company is branching out into Europe. DERIVATIVES: branch·let / -lit/ n. branch·like adj. branch·y adj.
1. A control structure in which one of two or more alternative sets of program statements is selected for execution. The selection is achieved during execution by means of a branch instruction; this instruction thus breaks the normal sequential program flow. (Branch instruction is usually regarded as synonymous with jump instruction.) See also jump, if then else statement, case statement, GOTO statement.
2. The set of instructions selected for execution as a result of a branch instruction.
3. To perform such a selection.