breach

noun
\ ˈbrēch \

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

After a night in jail, he was charged with three counts of breach of trust and one of abuse of power, all tied to the disappearance of billions of dollars from 1MDB, a state development fund. The Economist, "Malaysia’s former prime minister is charged with breach of trust," 5 July 2018 He is expected to appear in court Wednesday morning and be charged with more than 10 counts of criminal breach of trust, according to Bernama, the state news agency. Hannah Beech And Austin Ramzy, BostonGlobe.com, "Najib Razak, Malaysia’s former prime minister, is arrested amid corruption inquiry," 4 July 2018 In a lower court, he was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of corruption. NBC News, "Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak charged after multibillion dollar graft scandal," 4 July 2018 He was charged with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of corruption in connection with the investment fund scandal. Austin Ramzy, New York Times, "Malaysia’s Ex-Leader, Najib Razak, Is Charged in Corruption Inquiry," 3 July 2018 In the suit, Dranoff accused Camden officials of breach of contract for allegedly shirking an obligation to transfer the tax breaks, endangering his deal to sell the Victor to Aimco. Jacob Adelman, Philly.com, "Camden says Dranoff sale of Victor Building needs vetting over tax break," 3 July 2018 In light of the breach, Ticketmaster is offering all affected customers a free 12-month identity monitoring service. Jonathan Sperling, Fortune, "Ticketmaster Knew of Data Breach Months Before It Alerted Customers, Bank Says," 29 June 2018 The woman charged with stabbing and severely injuring Hartford police Officer Jill Kidik was arraigned Tuesday on a charge of breach of peace for an incident that occurred three days before her violent encounter with Kidik. David Owens, courant.com, "Woman Accused Of Stabbing Hartford Police Officer Faces New Charge," 19 June 2018 Clifford accuses Davidson of breach of fiduciary duty and Cohen of aiding and abetting Davidson’s disloyalty toward her. Edvard Pettersson, Bloomberg.com, "Stormy Daniels Says Her Former Lawyer Colluded With Michael Cohen," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The prospect of a trade war, the constant threat of populism and deteriorating security are already denting confidence, and inflation remains below, or yet to convincingly breach, the targets of leading central banks. Enda Curran, Bloomberg.com, "Easy Money Era Endures Even as Central Banks Unwind Stimulus," 17 June 2018 The river’s fury breached the paddle shack near the noon hour. Chuck Gibson, Cincinnati.com, "Little Miami River overflows into Loveland business," 3 Apr. 2018 Detective Inspector Stephen McCulloch said the protester breached a no-fly zone over the Turnberry hotel and committed a criminal offense. CBS News, "10,000 protest Trump in Edinburgh, Scotland -- live updates," 14 July 2018 When Jethro Tull appeared in 1971, legions of ticket-less fans tried to breach a fence, security forces let loose with tear gas and a five-year rock ’n’ roll ban began. Christopher Reynolds, latimes.com, "Sitting in the palm of nature: The unique energy — and performances — of Colorado's Red Rocks Amphitheatre," 12 July 2018 The players assert that the NCAA breached its contract by failing to act in good faith and by refusing to engage in fair dealing while vacating Louisville’s wins and records. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "Should the NCAA Be Worried About the Lawsuit It's Facing From Former Louisville Players?," 12 July 2018 The suit was filed on behalf of Frost’s only child, a minor identified as M.F. The suit charges ADT with two counts of negligence and one count of fraud, deception and breaching the Kansas Consumer Protection Act and its agreement with Frost. Max Londberg And Tony Rizzo, kansascity, "ADT didn’t alert officials to alarms at burning home with Kansas mom inside, suit says," 12 July 2018 In 2016, Russian hackers tried to breach election systems in at least 21 states, according to homeland security officials. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "Russia so far not mounting 'robust' hacking effort against U.S. election, official says," 11 July 2018 Twenty-one million users of Timehop, an app that reminds people about their social media posts on that day, are at risk after hackers breached the company servers on July 4. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Hackers Steal Personal Information of 21 Million Timehop Users," 9 July 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.

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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

25 Sep 2018

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 \

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 \

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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Comments on breach

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