\ˈbrēch \

Definition of breech 

1 breeches\ˈbri-​chəz 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

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 The third weapon, the huge gun with the large yellow breech cage, is a M102 howitzer. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Take a Ride Inside the AC-130 "Spooky" Gunship," 10 May 2016 The first patient was a pregnant woman in distress with a breech birth. John Wilkens,, "San Diegan's dream takes flight with life-saving float plane in Papua New Guinea," 13 May 2018 When the baby’s bottom or feet are down, this is called breech. Sarah Klein,, "Joy-Anna Duggar Had an Emergency C-Section Because Her Baby Was Breech. What Does That Mean?," 20 Mar. 2018 Out of sight, the gunner fires the gun and the breech block slides backward—straight toward the camera—ejecting the casing. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "What It Looks Like to Load and Fire Inside an Abrams Tank," 2 Dec. 2015 Innovators were creating new designs for bloomers and combining breeches with skirts in various ways. Christine Ro, The Atlantic, "How Cycling Clothing Opened Doors for Women," 15 Apr. 2018

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

7 Dec 2018

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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 \

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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