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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Data breaches are getting worse: One of the worst, Mega, happened earlier this year and affected 2.7 billion email and password combinations. Melissa Riofrio, PCWorld, "5 alarming facts in honor of World Password Day," 2 May 2019 Under a 1950 law, banks are barred from hiring anyone convicted of a crime of dishonesty or breach of trust. Lalita Clozel, WSJ, "Small-Time Crimes a Dealbreaker for Banking Jobs," 21 Apr. 2019 With their shields held overhead, soldiers would climb ladders held against the walls or rush through breaches, their arms furiously swinging two-handed broadswords and battle-axes or charging forward with long sharp pikes in front of them. William Gurstelle, Popular Mechanics, "How to Storm a Castle," 11 Apr. 2019 What with the Cambridge Analytica scandal, data breaches, the founders of Instagram and WhatsApp fleeing, and violence as a result of misinformation spread on its platform, Facebook has had a devastating 2018. Chavie Lieber, Vox, "A breakdown of this year’s brand winners and losers.," 27 Dec. 2018 India denies Jadhav is a spy and has asked the world court to order his release because he was denied access to consular assistance, in breach of an international treaty, and not allowed to choose his own defense lawyer at trial. Mike Corder, The Seattle Times, "Pakistan says India using UN court for ‘political theater’," 19 Feb. 2019 Earlier this fall, Facebook announced that hackers had gained access to 29 million personal accounts in a massive data breach. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Britain and Canada want answers from Mark Zuckerberg," 1 Nov. 2018 As many as 38,000 British Airways customers may have had their contact and financial information stolen in the breach, which evidence suggests was the result of malicious JavaScript code planted within British Airway's website. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "British Airways site had credit card skimming code injected," 11 Sep. 2018 The data breach that Ticketmaster revealed in June is part of a larger credit card-skimming operation that has hit more than 800 e-commerce sites across the internet, according to cybersecurity firm RiskIQ. Jacob Taylor /, NBC News, "Ticketmaster data theft part of larger credit card scheme, security firm says," 10 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Hacking a connected device at 35,000 feet wouldn't be easy as breaching an airline's website, but the vulnerability of networked cameras in general remains. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Two Major Airlines Admit to Undisclosed Cameras in Aircraft Entertainment Systems," 22 Feb. 2019 The following year, Breedlove returned with authority—and the engine from an F-4 Phantom—and breached 600mph. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Bloodhound SSC: How do you build a car capable of 1,000mph?," 24 Nov. 2018 Mandatory evacuations were ordered because of flooding at a lake, but the dam wasn’t breached, emergency management coordinator Andrew Jacobs said. Sarah Rankin, The Seattle Times, "Floodwaters of Florence put North Carolina dams under stress," 17 Sep. 2018 And obviously the paper won't breach its confidentiality pledge. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Why Deep State Throat hurt his own cause by trashing Trump in the Times," 7 Sep. 2018 Some researchers at the company are working on how to ensure that machine-learning systems don’t breach societal expectations of fairness. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Google's New AI Head Is So Smart He Doesn't Need AI," 18 Apr. 2018 The door to Bill Elder's room was breached with some difficulty. Michael Lindsay-hogg, Town & Country, "Brando in a Blue Blazer," 22 Aug. 2013 That could warrant changes to Australia’s Privacy Act to give consumers more control over their data, backed up by penalties on companies that breach the law, the ACCC said. Rob Taylor, WSJ, "Australia Looks to Rein in Power of Facebook and Google," 10 Dec. 2018 This ended up being the Monday evening report claiming Manafort had breached his agreement. Andrew Prokop, Vox, "New developments about Mueller, Manafort, and Corsi.," 27 Nov. 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about breach

Statistics for breach

Last Updated

22 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breach

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on breach

What made you want to look up breach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!