\ 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


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Organizations that embrace threat modeling gain a security advantage through their ability to protect sensitive data, to implement preventative measures to mitigate the risk of a data breach, and to enhance their overall security posture. Barbara Cosgriff, Forbes, 6 May 2022 When the system was attacked, North said retirees did not realize how they would be impacted by the data breach. Sabrina Leboeuf, Baltimore Sun, 2 May 2022 The data breach was reported to the government earlier this month. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, 27 Apr. 2022 There also was a customer data breach in 2019 that resulted in a settlement of $9 million in cash and gift cards to customers. al, 19 Apr. 2022 But on March 30, 2021, Krebs reported that an unidentified whistleblower told him the data breach was worse than Ubiquiti had said. Tim De Chant, Ars Technica, 31 Mar. 2022 Yet Pfizer is claiming that issuing a compulsory license to produce the medicine in the Dominican Republic would be a breach of its human rights. David Meyer, Fortune, 22 Apr. 2022 For many, the fines handed down on Tuesday were the final confirmation that Mr. Johnson’s actions were a breach of lockdown regulations. New York Times, 15 Apr. 2022 For Putin to now demand payments in rubles would be a breach of contract, Robert Habeck, Germany’s economy minister, told the German news agency dpa. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 24 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As that use has grown, search engines have become increasingly likely to penalize those who breach online standards. John Hall, Forbes, 1 May 2022 The Commission initially said the program could breach sanctions, but this week advised that the proposal does not necessarily violate the sanctions, Reuters reported. Peter Aitken, Fox News, 28 Apr. 2022 And instead of rapier-thin thrusts to breach Ukraine’s borders, the Russian army and its separatist allies are now deployed along a contiguous front line shaped like a boomerang. Nabih Bulosstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 23 Apr. 2022 Asked about the show’s legacy, Barris points to its focus on those who feel unseen in the world, whatever their ethnicity, and how ‘black-ish’ sought to breach divisions. NBC News, 19 Apr. 2022 According to the plea agreement read in court, Finley was among the first group to breach the Capitol grounds. Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 Lapsus$ employs a host of unsophisticated methods to successfully breach its victims. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 30 Mar. 2022 Lapsus$ previously claimed to breach organizations including Nvidia Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., and the gaming company Ubisoft Entertainment SA. Jeff Stone,, 23 Mar. 2022 Bradbury said that in January, the company detected an unsuccessful attempt to breach the account of a customer support engineer who worked for a third-party provider. Brett Molina, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2022 See More

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1547, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for breach


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


derivative of breach entry 1

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Time Traveler for breach

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near breach



breach of arrest

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Statistics for breach

Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Breach.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for breach


\ 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


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


\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on breach

Nglish: Translation of breach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breach for Arabic Speakers


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