What does earthly branch mean?

Looking for the meaning or definition of the word earthly branch? Here's what it means.

  1. One of the twelve terms used in East Asian cultures to represent
    1. (astronomy) The (approximately) twelve years of Jupiter's orbital period, forming the Chinese zodiac and personified as twelve or sixty gods known as Tai Sui.
    2. (astrology) The twelve animals representing the Chinese zodiac, (particularly) as a birthyear.
    3. (obsolete) The twelve months of the Chinese lunar year.
    4. (historical navigation) The twelve bearings of traditional Chinese navigation, comprising 30° divisions of the compass beginning with due north.
    5. (astronomy) The duodecimal divisions of the Chinese seasons, beginning with the second of the three divisions of winter.
    6. (historical chronometry) The duodecimal divisions of the day into "Chinese" or "double hours", beginning with 11 pm.
    7. (historical chronometry) The exact time at the middle of a "Chinese" or "double hour", beginning with midnight.
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