breech

noun

1
breeches ˈbri-chəz How to pronounce breech (audio)
 also  ˈbrē-
plural
a
: short pants covering the hips and thighs and fitting snugly at the lower edges at or just below the knee
wearing riding breeches
b
: pants
2
a
: the hind end of the body : buttocks
b
medical : breech presentation
also : a fetus that is presented with the buttocks first
3
: the part of a firearm at the rear of the barrel (see barrel entry 1 sense 3a)

Did you know?

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 breech in a Sentence

plant yourselves on your breeches on that bench and listen to what I have to say the mounted riders look striking in their red coats and white breeches
Recent Examples on the Web The nurse-midwifery practice declined to attend a home birth because the baby was in breech, Timmerman said. Amy Brittain, Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2023 The design of the breech ensures consistent ignition, keeping your primer and powder safe from moisture. Brad Fenson, Outdoor Life, 1 Nov. 2023 Saudi Arabia and Iran resumed diplomatic ties in March after a years-long breech. Stephen Kalin, WSJ, 30 Nov. 2023 Finding out that your baby is in a breech position with their feet or bottom facing down can be stressful. Maria Carter, Parents, 24 Oct. 2023 Brooklyn was a breech birth, [Victoria] had to have a cesarean section ... Emy Lacroix, Peoplemag, 2 Nov. 2023 No breech plug and fewer parts means cleaning and maintenance are a breeze. Brad Fenson, Outdoor Life, 1 Nov. 2023 While previous generations of royal women rarely deviated from dresses and skirts (aside from her riding breeches, Queen Elizabeth was almost never photographed wearing pants during her record reign!), power suits are a fresh choice for modern royal duty. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 31 Oct. 2023 Read on to learn more about moxibustion and how it can be used with breech babies. Maria Carter, Parents, 24 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breech.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, breeches, from Old English brēc, plural of brōc leg covering; akin to Old High German bruoh breeches, Latin braca pants

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of breech was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near breech

Cite this Entry

“Breech.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breech. Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

breech

1 of 2 noun
ˈbrēch
1
breeches
ˈbrich-əz,
 also  ˈbrē-chəz
plural
a
: short trousers fitting snugly at or just below the knee
2
3
: the part of a gun at the rear of the barrel

breech

2 of 2 adjective
: involving or being a fetus in which the buttocks or legs rather than the head are situated to emerge first through the birth canal
a breech delivery
breech adverb

Medical Definition

breech

1 of 2 noun
1
: the hind end of the body : buttocks
2
: breech presentation
also : a fetus that is presented at the uterine cervix buttocks or legs first

breech

2 of 2 adverb
: in the manner of a breech delivery or breech presentation
her children were born breechLaura Cunningham
the baby birthed breechJayne Anne Phillips

More from Merriam-Webster on breech

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