\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breech (audio) \

Definition of breech

1 breeches\ ˈbri-​chəz How to pronounce breeches (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
2a : 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)

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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 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 Tie a small rag to one end (or make one out of paracord strands), drop the other end down the breech and through the muzzle, and pull through. The Editors, Field & Stream, "5 Reasons to Keep Paracord in Your Vehicle," 14 Apr. 2020 If women have a breech baby, are carrying more than one fetus or have had previous C-section deliveries, they are not advised to have planned home births. Kristen Rogers, CNN, "What you need to have a safe home birth," 20 Apr. 2020 But in 3 to 4 percent of full-term births, the baby is breech, meaning the buttocks or feet are down toward the cervix instead. New York Times, "5 Common Childbirth Complications," 18 Apr. 2020 Heaven coming closer Six weeks early and breech, Girl Bufa was 5 pounds, 1 ounce and 18.5 inches long. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Born close to heaven: The short, beautiful life of Baby Abigail," 26 Mar. 2020 Snick that little bottom lever and feel the silky-smooth breech block drop down to expose the dark chamber. Ron Spomer, Outdoor Life, "The 4 Coolest Rifles I’ve Ever Fired," 2 Mar. 2020 Loading is simple, thanks to a unique sliding breech system. Joseph Albanese, Field & Stream, "The 12 Best Air Guns of 2020," 28 Feb. 2020 As European armies adopted modern breech-loading rifles, a stock of old-fashioned weapons was left surplus to requirements. The Economist, "From muskets to missiles The battle for the Middle Eastern arms market is heating up," 13 Feb. 2020 Her mother, Yolanda Ward, said in March 2019 her daughter was due to give birth but the baby was breech and died at a different hospital. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, "Woman, 25, upset by emergency-room wait heads to urgent care, but dies," 16 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breech.' 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 breech

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

History and Etymology for breech

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

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Time Traveler for breech

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breech

Last Updated

10 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for breech


\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breech (audio) \

Medical Definition of breech

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



Medical Definition of breech (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the manner of a breech delivery or breech presentation her children were born breech— Laura Cunningham the baby birthed breech— Jayne Anne Phillips

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More from Merriam-Webster on breech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breech

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breech

Britannica English: Translation of breech for Arabic Speakers

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