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[bres-ting] /ˈbrɛs tɪŋ/
a piece of leather or other material for covering the heel breast of a shoe.
Origin of breasting


[brest] /brɛst/
Anatomy, Zoology. (in bipeds) the outer, front part of the thorax, or the front part of the body from the neck to the abdomen; chest.
Zoology. the corresponding part in quadrupeds.
either of the pair of mammae occurring on the chest in humans and having a discrete areola around the nipple, especially the mammae of the female after puberty, which are enlarged and softened by hormonally influenced mammary-gland development and fat deposition and which secrete milk after the birth of a child: the breasts of males normally remain rudimentary.
the part of a garment that covers the chest.
the bosom conceived of as the center of emotion:
What anger lay in his breast when he made that speech?
a projection from a wall, as part of a chimney.
any surface or part resembling or likened to the human breast.
Mining. the face or heading at which the work is going on.
  1. the front of an open-hearth furnace.
  2. the clay surrounding the taphole of a cupola.
  1. breast line.
  2. a rounded bow.
verb (used with object)
to meet or oppose boldly; confront:
As a controversial public figure he has breasted much hostile criticism.
to contend with or advance against:
The ship breasted the turbulent seas.
to climb or climb over (a mountain, obstacle, etc.).
to overcome, succeed against.
to come alongside or abreast of.
Verb phrases
breast in, Nautical. to bind (an object, as a boatswain's chair) securely under a projection, as the flare of a bow.
breast off, Nautical.
  1. to thrust (a vessel) sideways from a wharf.
  2. to keep (a vessel) away from a wharf by means of timbers.
beat one's breast, to display one's grief, remorse, etc., in a loud and demonstrative manner.
make a clean breast of, to confess everything (of which one is guilty):
You'll feel better if you make a clean breast of it.
before 1000; Middle English brest, Old English brēost; cognate with Old Norse brjōst; akin to German Brust, Gothic brusts, Dutch borst
Related forms
breastless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for breasting
Historical Examples
  • But at least the tunnel will be a great convenience in summer, although some may regret the short ride, breasting the keen air.

    Argentina W. A. Hirst
  • It shot forward, breasting the current, and was soon well away from the cliff.

    Frank Roscoe's Secret Allen Chapman
  • breasting a strong cover with cockers, is more suited to young, than to old men.

    Dog Breaking William Nelson Hutchinson
  • Far at its end stood the train, breasting the darkness without.

    Howards End E. M. Forster
  • It was along one of the great buffalo trails that they now rode, breasting the line of hills that edged the Platte to the south.

    The Covered Wagon Emerson Hough
  • Her horse fought its way forward, breasting the flood valiantly.

  • He cleft his way through the crowd slowly, like a reluctant swimmer weary of breasting the tide.

  • They were like men forced to travel, and breasting a strong head wind.

    A Poor Wise Man Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • breasting the volleys that met them, the Americans with loud cheers scaled the bank, and routed the enemy.

  • And they plunged into Cheapside again, he breasting the stream, making a passage for her.

    The Divine Fire May Sinclair
British Dictionary definitions for breasting


the front part of the body from the neck to the abdomen; chest
either of the two soft fleshy milk-secreting glands on the chest in sexually mature human females adjective mammary
a similar organ in certain other mammals
anything that resembles a breast in shape or position: the breast of the hill
a source of nourishment: the city took the victims to its breast
the source of human emotions
the part of a garment that covers the breast
a projection from the side of a wall, esp that formed by a chimney
(mining) the face being worked at the end of a tunnel
beat one's breast, to display guilt and remorse publicly or ostentatiously
make a clean breast of, to make a confession of
verb (transitive)
to confront boldly; face: breast the storm
to oppose with the breast or meet at breast level: breasting the waves
to come alongside of: breast the ship
to reach the summit of: breasting the mountain top
Word Origin
Old English brēost; related to Old Norse brjōst, Old High German brust, Dutch borst, Swedish bräss, Old Irish brū belly, body
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for breasting



Old English breost "breast, bosom; mind, thought, disposition," from Proto-Germanic *breustam "breast" (cf. Old Saxon briost, Old Frisian briast, Old Norse brjost, Dutch borst, German brust, Gothic brusts), perhaps literally "swelling" and from PIE root *bhreus- "to swell, sprout" (cf. Middle Irish bruasach "having a broad, strong chest," Old Irish bruinne "breast"). The spelling conforms to the Scottish and northern England dialectal pronunciation. Figurative sense of "seat of the emotions" was in Old English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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breasting in Medicine

breast (brěst)

  1. Either of two milk-secreting, glandular organs on the chest of a woman; mammary gland; mamma.

  2. A corresponding rudimentary gland in the male.

  3. The superior ventral surface of the human body, extending from the neck to the abdomen.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Idioms and Phrases with breasting
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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