How many, you ask? Hmm. Well, there’s the obvious one, a part of a woody plant. We sometimes call them boughs, or a limbs. I’m sure someone, somewhere, can make the distinction between a branch, a bough, and a limb. I can’t.
There’s the bank branch. I suppose that’s a subset of an office branch, kind of like the banking branch of office branches. I think bank branches may go away someday. Banks want to do their business online these days. No bricks, no mortar, every web browser is a branch. And no tellers.
The military has branches. The government has branches. Rivers have branches. Your family tree (hopefully) has branches. Railroad lines have branches. I think they’re sometimes called spurs. I wonder if that came from the old use of branch to refer to a bit shank in a horse bridle? Both horse terms. We’ll probably never know.
Computer programs have branches. Most fields of academic study have branches. In fact, computer programming might be considered a branch of mathematics. In fact, I think branch theory is a branch of mathematics.
It seems that branch has branched out to mean many things. Maybe I’ll just hold out an olive branch and see if you forgive will me for this post.