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

Other consumer protections—such as private rights to sue over breaches—also could help soften Democratic opposition to pre-emption. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Partisan Rift Threatens Federal Data-Privacy Law," 17 Feb. 2019 Iranian hackers were blamed in November for a cybersecurity breach and extortion attempt on Australia’s Austal, which builds littoral combat ships for the U.S. Navy. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Iranian Group Blamed for Cyberattack on Australia’s Parliament," 21 Feb. 2019 The latter certainly wouldn’t be safer if password manager companies were exposing millions of our passwords at once through breaches of their servers. Geoffrey A. Fowler, The Seattle Times, "Password managers have a security flaw, but you should still use one," 19 Feb. 2019 That breach had also happened in September, but Facebook waited about six weeks to mention it. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Facebook’s very bad year, explained," 21 Dec. 2018 The news of the breach follows a string of security and privacy scandals that Facebook has had to answer to over the past year. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Facebook Announces Security Breach Affecting Nearly 50 Million Accounts," 28 Sep. 2018 Last month, Adidas disclosed a data breach affecting potentially millions of shoppers. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Macy's Customer Credit Data Hacked In Breach," 11 July 2018 Less than a week later, Equifax publicly disclosed the breach, and its stock fell about 14 percent. New York Times, "Another Equifax Employee Faces Charge of Insider Trading After Big Breach," 28 June 2018 Equifax originally disclosed the breach back in September. BostonGlobe.com, "Alkermes building large lab and office building in Waltham," 11 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Over land, the AS2 is intended to cruise at Mach 0.95, to avoid sonic booms that would breach noise regulations. Dominic Gates, The Seattle Times, "Boeing invests in advanced supersonic business jet," 5 Feb. 2019 Humans have breached this cycle by digging up fossil fuels and burning them, leading to carbon dioxide building up in the atmosphere faster than natural systems can soak it up. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, explained," 24 Oct. 2018 As part of that effort, Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states ahead of the election and are believed to have breached the voter registration system in at least one, Illinois. CBS News, "Top state election officials meet amid security concerns," 14 July 2018 As part of that effort, Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states ahead of the election and are believed to have breached the voter registration system in at least one, Illinois, investigators say. Geoff Mulvihill, BostonGlobe.com, "No signs Russia targeting elections like 2016, US official says," 14 July 2018 Some of the same infrastructure the defendant allegedly used to hack the software maker was used to breach the state board of elections. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "12 Russian intel officers indicted for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign," 13 July 2018 In one, a 24-year-old man was killed by Israeli army gunfire when a group of Gazans attempted to breach the border into Israel. Noga Tarnopolsky, latimes.com, "They're calling it the Kite War. How a simple plaything became a potent weapon in the Gaza Strip," 18 June 2018 While Cardi B acknowledges having a contract with Shaft, her lawsuit argues that it was breached after WorldStar, Shaft’s company, failed to provide some of the services agreed on, such as an independent business manager and certain payments to her. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Cardi B Countersues Ex-Manager Shaft, Asking for $15 Million in Damages," 5 July 2018 But Washington said North Korea’s plans to launch a satellite would breach the deal. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "U.S. and North Korean Spies Have Held Secret Talks For a Decade," 21 Jan. 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

13 Mar 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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