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

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 Facebook disclosed the massive privacy breach after Wylie told reporters what had happened. Erin Kelly, USA TODAY, "Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: Steve Bannon used data to discourage Democratic turnout," 25 Apr. 2018 The company didn't disclose the breach until more than a year later. Elliot Njus, OregonLive.com, "Uber says it's sorry for 'missteps' in Portland," 16 Apr. 2018 Amid data privacy scandals, security breaches and the spread of misinformation, many Facebook users have opted to stop using the social network. Joanna Stern, WSJ, "Sorry I Forgot Your Birthday, I’ve Stopped Checking Facebook," 16 Jan. 2019 Behold their adorable hand-holding at the wedding: Getty ImagesAntony Jones Of course, while public hand-holding is considered breach of royal protocol, Meghan and Harry seem to give approximately zero Fs about that rule. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Prince Harry Gifted Meghan Markle With Some Royal PDA for Her Birthday," 4 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 The researchers, from Cornell University, studied simpler and more common animals like frogs and small crustaceans that perform a breaching maneuver. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Build Underwater Jumping Robot," 23 Nov. 2018 Photo: Bob Daugherty/Associated Press The Obama administration had concerns about the system in 2013 and publicly accused Moscow of breaching the accord the following year, to no avail. Michael R. Gordon, WSJ, "As One Arms Treaty Falls Apart, Others Look Shakier," 7 Dec. 2018 The imams and mosques being targeted are suspected of breaching a rule that bans the foreign funding of Islamic communities. Nadine Schmidt And Judith Vonberg, CNN, "Austria to close seven mosques, expel imams," 8 June 2018 That is just a fancy way of breaching copyright, the NSE argues. The Economist, "Two Asian stock exchanges tussle over market data," 7 June 2018 Numerous celebrities and politicians have accused hackers of breaching their websites and accounts for years. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "A Short History of Blaming 'Hackers' For Pretty Much Everything," 27 Apr. 2018 The part that grabbed world headlines was a show-and-tell presentation of purportedly new nuclear arms capable of breaching US defenses. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "For newly reelected Putin, it's all about making Russia great again," 19 Mar. 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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Learn More about breach

Statistics for breach

Last Updated

13 Feb 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 \

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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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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