breach

noun
\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breach (audio) \

Definition of breach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : infraction or violation of a law, obligation, tie, or standard a breach of trust sued them for breach of contract
2a : a broken, ruptured, or torn condition or area a breach of the skin the leak was a major security breach
b : a gap (as in a wall) made by battering fixing a breach in the fence once more unto the breach, dear friends, … or close the wall up with our English dead— Shakespeare
3a : a break in accustomed friendly relations caused a breach between the two countries
b : a temporary gap in continuity : hiatus a breach of routine
4 : a leap especially of a whale out of water

breach

verb
breached; breaching; breaches

Definition of breach (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to make a gap in by battering : to make a breach (see breach entry 1 sense 2b) in breached the castle wall
2 : break, violate breach an agreement

intransitive verb

: to leap out of water a whale breaching

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Into the breech or the breach?

If you are about to provide some much-needed assistance in a situation do you get ready to step (or leap, or jump) into the breach or the breech? The former. The sense of breach this expression applies to is “a gap (as in a wall) made by battering.” Breech, on the other hand, refers most often to a part of a rifle (near the rear of the barrel), the buttocks, or short pants which cover the hips and thighs (this sense is always found used in the plural, breeches). You may, if you are in a state of undress, step into your breeches before you step into the breach, but you would never step into your breaches before stepping into the breech.

Examples of breach in a Sentence

Noun

This is clearly a breach of the treaty. Many people consider her decision to be a breach of trust . The judge ruled that the doctor's actions were in breach of her contractual duty.

Verb

He claims that the city breached an agreement by selling the property. Is he going to breach his contract? The army breached the castle wall.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This breach was not a data hack or cyber attack on government databases, the telecommunications ministry said in a statement on its site. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Almost entire population of Ecuador has data leaked," 17 Sep. 2019 This major breach of security was an embarrassing episode for the ATF, which launched a search across 49 of the 50 states for the firearms. Jeff Pegues, CBS News, "West Virginia man sentenced for stealing firearms from ATF," 27 Aug. 2019 The breach was among the largest on record involving a major U.S. financial institution. Martha Bellisle, The Seattle Times, "Judge orders woman in Capital One case to remain in custody," 25 Aug. 2019 The breach was among the largest on record involving a major U.S. financial institution. NBC News, "U.S. wants trans woman accused in Capital One hack to stay locked up," 23 Aug. 2019 At least 21 states reported being contacted by addresses associated with Russia, largely by scanning public websites, but Illinois’ data breach was the most significant. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "3 years after Russian hackers tapped Illinois voter database, officials spending millions to safeguard 2020 election," 5 Aug. 2019 The breach was another blow for Nebraska, where some $840 million in crops, livestock and land were damaged by floods and blizzards this spring, and where the governor has issued emergency declarations this year in 81 of 93 counties. Mitch Smith, New York Times, "America’s Farmers, Reeling From Floods, Face a New Problem: No Water," 29 July 2019 The breach was one of the largest ever to threaten Americans' private information. Ken Sweet, baltimoresun.com, "Equifax to pay Maryland $5.7 million in data breach settlement," 22 July 2019 Looming over Netanyahu are potential charges of fraud, bribery and breach of trust. Washington Post, "For Netanyahu, winning reelection could be the only way to avoid corruption charges," 18 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Storonsky insists no regulation was breached, but the episode raises questions about the company’s priorities. Washington Post, "Super-Charged Revolut Might Be Driving Too Fast," 18 Sep. 2019 Cue the second half, and that fragile backline was breached once again. SI.com, "Why England's New 'Golden Generation' are Set Up for Glorious Failure," 11 Sep. 2019 Students are one of the age groups least likely to know when their Social Security number was breached. Eve Rosen, sun-sentinel.com, "Florida’s Auditor General focuses on student data protection," 10 Sep. 2019 There’s no evidence (so far) that the Voatz system was breached, or was even targeted, and the company has said its security protocols were rigorously audited. Wired, "Wouldn’t It Be Great If People Could Vote on the Blockchain?," 3 Sep. 2019 Some of the 6-foot-high active dams, where there is a lot of mud being applied constantly, are probably more effective at stopping most of the fish … except maybe when they are breached during high-water events. John Myers, Twin Cities, "Damming question: Can beaver and trout coexist? ‘We don’t know yet.’," 26 Aug. 2019 State officials say that information could be breached and could be used to track law-abiding U.S. citizens. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "TSA urges consumers to change identification as Real ID deadline draws near," 23 Aug. 2019 The vessel landed on rocks and the hull above the water line was breached, officials said. Sarah Wu, BostonGlobe.com, "MBTA ferry MV Lightning runs aground off Long Island in Boston Harbor; four people hurt," 16 Aug. 2019 Los Angeles city computers were breached last week in a data theft potentially involving the personal information of about 20,000 applicants to the police department, including hundreds who are now sworn officers. Julia Wick, Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: More details emerge in the Gilroy shooting," 30 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breach.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of breach

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1547, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for breach

Noun

Middle English breche "act of breaking, opening in a wall, violation," probably in part continuing Old English brǣc "act of breaking" (derivative from base of brecan "to break"), in part borrowed from Anglo-French & continental Old French breche "break, gap," going back to Old Low Franconian *breka, derivative of *brekan "to break," going back to Germanic *brekan- — more at break entry 1

Verb

derivative of breach entry 1

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Statistics for breach

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breach

The first known use of breach was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for breach

breach

verb

English Language Learners Definition of breach

: to fail to do what is required by (something, such as a law or agreement) : to break or violate (something)
: to make a hole or opening in (something)

breach

noun
\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breach (audio) \

Kids Definition of breach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a failure to act in a promised or required way a breach of contract
2 : an opening made by breaking a breach in the dam

breach

verb
breached; breaching

Kids Definition of breach (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to fail to do as promised or required by breach an agreement
2 : to make a break in

breach

noun
\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breach (audio) \

Legal Definition of breach

1a : a violation in the performance of or a failure to perform an obligation created by a promise, duty, or law without excuse or justification
breach of duty
: a breach of a duty especially by a fiduciary (as an agent or corporate officer) in carrying out the functions of his or her position
breach of trust
: a breach by a trustee of the terms of a trust (as by stealing from or carelessly mishandling the funds)
breach of warranty
: a breach by a seller of the terms of a warranty (as by the failure of the goods to conform to the seller's description or by a defect in title)

Note: A seller may be liable for a breach of warranty even without any negligence or misconduct.

b : failure without excuse or justification to fulfill one's obligations under a contract

called also breach of contract

— compare repudiation
anticipatory breach
: a breach of contract that occurs as a result of a party's anticipatory repudiation of the contract
efficient breach
: breach of contract in economic theory in which it is more profitable for the breaching party to breach the contract and pay damages than to perform under the contract
material breach
: a breach of contract that is so substantial that it defeats the purpose of the parties in making the contract and gives the nonbreaching party the right to cancel the contract and sue for damages — compare substantial performance at performance

Note: Whether a breach is material is a question of fact. Under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts, a material breach gives rise to the right to suspend performance but not to cancel the contract until there is a total breach.

partial breach
: a breach of contract in which the breaching party's nonperformance is minor and gives rise to the right to sue for damages but not to suspend performance or cancel the contract — compare part performance at performance
total breach
: a breach of contract under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts that is so substantial that it gives rise to the right to cancel the contract and sue for damages
2a : a violation or disturbance of something (as a law or condition) find both the State and the minor guilty of gross breaches of the rules of procedureIn re D.L.B., 429 N.E.2d 615 (1981) a breach of security especially : breach of the peace
b : an act of breaking out breach of prison
3 : the condition of having committed a breach of contract used in the phrase in breach a terminating party who is not in breach is entitled to expensesC&S/Sovran Corp. v. First Fed. Sav. Bank of Brunswick, 463 S.E.2d 892 (1995)

Other Words from breach

breach verb
breacher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on breach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breach

Spanish Central: Translation of breach

Nglish: Translation of breach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breach for Arabic Speakers

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