\ ˈbrēch How to pronounce breech (audio) \

Definition of breech

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
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 Beneath that, the crack and crash of battling robots, the pssssh of a hull breech in outer space. Elana Scherr, Car and Driver, "2021 McLaren 620R: Racetrack Savagery for the Street," 17 Apr. 2021 The similarity stands, even though Jewish law posits that life begins at birth – with the emergence of the head, or in case of breech, the majority of the body (Ohalot 7:6). Rabbi Avi Weiss,, "Tazria-Metzorah: The pain of early termination of pregnancy," 13 Apr. 2021 The loader grabbed hold of the loader’s hatch, swung his legs forward, and kicked the round in; the breech came up, and the gunner fired a round that destroyed a T-72 tank at very close range. H.r. Mcmaster, Washington Examiner, "My Desert Storm," 4 Mar. 2021 Reeder is not the first Marylander to be arrested in connection to breech of the Capitol. James Whitlow,, "Tip from Harford state’s attorney’s office leads to arrest of Maryland man who participated in Capitol riots, FBI says," 1 Mar. 2021 By venting propellant gases out the rear, the 75mm had almost no recoil and no need for a weighty breech block, which meant it could be carried by a soldier—or, in this case, even an Italian motor scooter. Cory Graff, Popular Mechanics, "Let's Remember When French Paratroopers Once Used Bazooka Vespas in Combat," 30 Nov. 2020 The lever is connected to the breech bolt by a long, wide, curving piece of metal. Bryce M. Towsley, Outdoor Life, "The Life and Times of the Savage Model 99, One of America’s Greatest Lever-Action Rifles," 9 Dec. 2020 The breech block locks into the action as the lever is closed creating a strong action design that is suitable to modern high-pressure cartridges. Bryce M. Towsley, Outdoor Life, "The Life and Times of the Savage Model 99, One of America’s Greatest Lever-Action Rifles," 9 Dec. 2020 Christine broke open her shotgun and dropped two shells into the breech, preparing to move in and flush the birds. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Forming new rituals on a perfect day of ice fishing on a frozen Alaska lake," 28 Nov. 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on breech

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breech

Britannica English: Translation of breech for Arabic Speakers

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