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[noun breech; verb breech, brich] /noun britʃ; verb britʃ, brɪtʃ/
the lower, rear part of the trunk of the body; buttocks.
the hinder or lower part of anything.
Ordnance. the rear part of the bore of a gun, especially the opening and associated mechanism that permits insertion of a projectile.
Machinery. the end of a block or pulley farthest from the supporting hook or eye.
Nautical. the outside angle of a knee in the frame of a ship.
verb (used with object)
Ordnance. to fit or furnish (a gun) with a breech.
to clothe with breeches.
Origin of breech
before 1000; Middle English breeche, Old English brēc, plural of brōc; cognate with Old Norse brōk, Old High German bruoh
Related forms
unbreeched, adjective
Can be confused
breach, breech (see synonym study at breach) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for breech
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He laid his hand on the breech of the gun that bore Don Diego.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
  • The Padre nodded while he bent over the breech of his Winchester.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • He caught it and broke it at the breech, ejecting the two shells; one of them was empty.

    In a Little Town Rupert Hughes
  • He opened it at the breech, put something in, and snapped the breech-block.

    The Return of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle
  • They wore only leggings, shirts, breech clouts and a blanket.

  • Here the missile is inserted at the breech, according to Your direction.

    The Worshippers Damon Francis Knight
  • Quoin—a wedge placed under the breech of a gun to fix its elevation.

  • breechblock—a movable piece which closes the breech of a cannon.

  • He drops the breech hastily to the ground as the face of Carrie peers forth.

    Shadows of Shasta Joaquin Miller
British Dictionary definitions for breech


noun (briːtʃ)
the lower dorsal part of the human trunk; buttocks; rump
the lower part or bottom of something: the breech of the bridge
the lower portion of a pulley block, esp the part to which the rope or chain is secured
the part of a firearm behind the barrel or bore
(obstetrics) short for breech delivery
verb (transitive) (briːtʃ; brɪtʃ)
to fit (a gun) with a breech
(archaic) to clothe in breeches or any other clothing
See also breeches
Usage note
Breech is sometimes wrongly used as a verb where breach is meant: the barrier/agreement was breached (not breeched)
Word Origin
Old English brēc, plural of brōc leg covering; related to Old Norse brōk, Old High German bruoh
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 breech

"back part of a gun or firearm," 1570s, from singular of breeches (q.v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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breech in Medicine

breech (brēch)
The lower rear portion of the human trunk; the buttocks.

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