Usually when you look up the word "stick", you get something like

CC-CEDICT 棍棒 (gùn​bàng​) club / staff / stick

Google Image Search indicates a 棍棒 looks like this:

a short wooden rod, looks similar to a rolling pin

and not like this:

a stick, one that could have recently come off a tree

In English, if someone says the word "stick" (as a noun), they're usually envisaging this latter image. I'm struggling to find an appropriate translation for "stick".

Question: What is the appropriate translation for "stick" (one that falls off a tree)?

  • Do you mean tree branch (樹枝)?
    – dROOOze
    Apr 8, 2022 at 3:35
  • Maybe, but I'm not sure. In English a "branch" is larger than a "stick", and a stick tends to be 1-dimensional, whereas a branch would usually branch off into 2+ dimensions. Children tend to play with sticks (e.g. to dig holes), but branches are too big. We might throw a stick and tell our dog to fetch it.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Apr 8, 2022 at 3:38
  • Quote:- " In English a "branch" is larger than a "stick"" I am interested to know the etymological sources for this classification? Apr 8, 2022 at 5:28

3 Answers 3



I didn't know in English a "branch" is larger than a "stick". Thanks for telling us that. In Chinese we usually don't make such distinctions. If you want to emphasize it is small, just add 小 before it, eg. 小树枝,小枝条,小枝子.


simply, it's different.

樹枝枝條 is that thing in the tree. Like braches or sticks 棍棒棍子 is a thing can hit people. Man-made.


'sticks' don't fall off trees (maybe in America?), branches, small branches or twigs fall of trees.

树枝, 小树枝, 枝桠

twig is definitely related to the Sanskrit root for two.

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