\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breech (audio) \

Definition of breech

1 breeches\ ˈbri-​chəz also  ˈbrē-​ How to pronounce breeches (audio) \ 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

Meghan chose a pale pink off-the shoulder look by Carolina Herrera for the Queen's birthday parade in 2018, an outfit which some incorrectly called a breech of protocol. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Meghan Markle Chose a Gorgeous Navy Dress For Today's Trooping the Colour Parade," 8 June 2019 Once the breech and barrel assembly is removed from the body, the complexity becomes overwhelming. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "We Got Our Hands on an HK G11, the Space-Age Rifle That Never Was," 20 Mar. 2019 The rifle’s caseless ammunition and rotating breech is what achieve these blistering rates of fire. Matthew Moss, Popular Mechanics, "We Got Our Hands on an HK G11, the Space-Age Rifle That Never Was," 20 Mar. 2019 His graciousness as a host is legendary: Decades later, people remember parties lit by candles, with footmen in powdered hair and breeches. Kennedy Fraser, Vogue, "From the Archives: Karl Lagerfeld, The Impresario," 19 Feb. 2019 The breech was a large block containing 37 separate firing pins, which the cartridge plate attached to the front of. Ian Mccollum, Popular Mechanics, "Forgotten Weapons: The Mitrailleuse," 9 Dec. 2015 Riding breeches and to-the-knee boots completed the equestrian moment, while a pair of classic aviators finished Olsen’s look with timeless charm. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "Mary-Kate Olsen Makes the Case for Classic Equestrian Style," 28 Sep. 2018 Flemish and lowlander sailors wore large buttons like this one with Friso's image, which attached their shirts to their breeches. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "Indy has a button convention; here are stories behind 5 of the most fascinating pieces," 10 Mar. 2018 Invented in 1934, the Bofors gun is the gun with the red-painted bars extending from the breech. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Take a Ride Inside the AC-130 "Spooky" Gunship," 10 May 2016

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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Statistics for breech

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for breech

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

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breech

Britannica English: Translation of breech for Arabic Speakers

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