English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In this sentence:

Bird jumps from one branch to another in a strange wood.

I am interested in the part: "jumps from one branch to another". Could you tell me some well-known term of such action? So after replacing I'll get:

Bird <term> in a strange wood.

share|improve this question
By the way, to me that sentence is perfectly clear, and I'm not a native speaker :D I mean, it sounds common and well-known to me... The most difficult term would be "branch" but that is pretty known, I guess... – Alenanno Jun 22 '11 at 8:50
Indeed a google search for "jumps from branch to branch" finds loads of birds, squirrels and even bears xenophilius.wordpress.com/.../bear-pees-on-man-from-up-in-tree- jumps-from-branch-to-branch-with-bear-friends/ – JoseK Jun 22 '11 at 8:58
up vote 10 down vote accepted

The bird flitted about in a strange wood.

share|improve this answer

Birds flit from branch to branch.

to move lightly and swiftly; fly, dart, or skim along

Apes brachiate.

Brachiation (from "brachium", Latin for "arm") is a form of arboreal locomotion in which primates swing from tree limb to tree limb using only their arms.

"I tried to brachiate through the trees like Tarzan, but I ended up breaking my arm instead."

share|improve this answer
Yes, but birds don't do this (successfully or otherwise). – TimLymington Jun 22 '11 at 9:40
Right you are - I was so happy to use "brachiate" that I missed the bird part. Editing... – MT_Head Jun 22 '11 at 9:41
And now I've added the same word as Ed Guinness, which I didn't notice until I posted. Grrr. – MT_Head Jun 22 '11 at 9:44
+1 for the flitting – Thursagen Jun 22 '11 at 10:59

I can't think of a single term meaning “jump from branch to branch”. The closest I can get is to offer a somewhat more specific alternative to jump: hop.

(of a bird or other animal) move by jumping with two or all feet at once: a blackbird was hopping around in the sun

If the bird is not jumping on feet, but instead flying around, I would go with flutter:

(of a bird or other winged creature) fly unsteadily or hover by flapping the wings quickly and lightly

(New Oxford American Dictionary)

share|improve this answer

How about flits, flutters or darts? The first is more aimless.

share|improve this answer

Bird gambols in a strange wood.

From The Free Dictionary:


intr.v. gam·boled or gam·bolled, gam·bol·ing or gam·bol·ling, gam·bols

To leap about playfully; frolic.

A playful skipping or frolicking about.


Bird capers in a strange wood.

From The Free Dictionary:


  1. A playful leap or hop.
  2. A frivolous escapade or prank.

intr.v. ca·pered, ca·per·ing, ca·pers

To leap or frisk about; frolic.

share|improve this answer
For some reason I have gambol associated with four legged creatures, and caper associated with humans... not sure why, but I have quite a strong association so it must come from childhood books, I guess. – Rory Alsop Jun 22 '11 at 10:16
I'd agree with Rory: they're not wrong when applied to birds, but have odd connotations. – TimLymington Jun 22 '11 at 11:11
All apologies, though I can't be held responsible for your psychological associations. – Grant Thomas Jun 22 '11 at 11:56

Brachiate should serve the purpose best. It can do away with the use of branch without loss of specific meaning. It can convey an act of movement and give an imagery of the kind of movement. With any of the other words, we may still have to use branch: flit from branch to branch, not merely flit.

If brachiate brings back images of monkeys and not birds, it is only because of prior use, which should not be a constraint, I feel.

share|improve this answer
Brachiate involves swinging. It does not involve jumping. – Matt E. Эллен Nov 9 '11 at 12:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.