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

Such suppression orders are common in the Australian and British judicial systems, and breaches can result in jail terms. Rod Mcguirk, The Seattle Times, "Australian reporters charged over Pell gag order violations," 26 Mar. 2019 The issue speaks to the far-reaching consequences of the second major breach endured by Facebook in a calendar year. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "The Massive Facebook Hack May Have Spread Further Than Facebook," 2 Oct. 2018 In part, the breach stemmed from Ms. Spar’s different way of doing business, several officials said. Michael Cooper, New York Times, "Turmoil at Lincoln Center: Infighting, Money Troubles, Scrapped Projects," 1 July 2018 The breach shows there's no guarantee that even well-meaning developers can keep Facebook data secure once it's been shared. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "The Man Who Saw the Dangers of Cambridge Analytica Years Ago," 19 June 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The arbitration alleged that Petrobras in 2015 wrongfully terminated its eight-year contract with Vantage, claiming the company had breached its obligations. Katherine Blunt, Houston Chronicle, "Driller wins $622 million arbitration award," 6 July 2018 AC Milan are set to appeal UEFA's decision to ban the club from all European competition for a year due to breaching Financial Fair Play laws. SI.com, "AC Milan to Appeal UEFA's Decision to Ban Club From European Competition Following FFP Breach," 27 June 2018 Attorney General Maura Healey’s office is seeking a broad swath of internal documents from Mount Ida College as part of her investigation into whether its president and trustees breached their duty to act in the best interest of the defunct school. Laura Krantz, BostonGlobe.com, "Healey requests Mount Ida internal documents," 1 June 2018 In 2004, the United Nations' highest judicial organ, the International Court of Justice, ruled in an advisory opinion that the settlements breached international law. Mike Corder, chicagotribune.com, "Palestinians ask ICC for 'immediate' probe against Israel," 22 May 2018 Syria said the strikes failed to achieve their goal and breached international law. Jaclyn Gallucci, Fortune, "What to Know About the U.S.-Led Missile Strikes on Syria," 14 Apr. 2018 The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether the company breached a 2011 consent agreement to safeguard users' personal information — a probe that could bring hundreds of millions of dollars in fines. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Facebook's new policy: Advertisers pushing political issues must verify their identities," 6 Apr. 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

10 Apr 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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