\ 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)

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 guns are commonly identified by the thick band of iron around the breech (base) of the gun. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 15 Mar. 2022 This includes plugging a tank gun barrel with concrete, for example, or removing the breech mechanism. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 29 July 2021 So there was Glen, a veteran road warrior, filling the breech. Paul Daugherty, The Enquirer, 10 Sep. 2021 The gentleman who could have walked in from the Scottish moors stepped to the shooting box and dropped two shotshells into the side by side breech of his British hammer gun. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 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,, 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, 4 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, 30 Nov. 2020 See More

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.

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

Learn More About breech

Time Traveler for breech

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near breech




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for breech

Cite this Entry

“Breech.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

Britannica English: Translation of breech for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!