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breech

[noun breech; verb breech, brich]
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noun
  1. the lower, rear part of the trunk of the body; buttocks.
  2. the hinder or lower part of anything.
  3. Ordnance. the rear part of the bore of a gun, especially the opening and associated mechanism that permits insertion of a projectile.
  4. Machinery. the end of a block or pulley farthest from the supporting hook or eye.
  5. Nautical. the outside angle of a knee in the frame of a ship.
verb (used with object)
  1. Ordnance. to fit or furnish (a gun) with a breech.
  2. 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 formsun·breeched, adjective
Can be confusedbreach breech (see synonym study at breach)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for breeched

Historical Examples

  • He became an inexplicable creature; a breeched and booted Sphinx.

    Life And Adventures Of Martin Chuzzlewit

    Charles Dickens

  • Any one who is breeched can obtain a licence in our noble country.

  • Times never will change—to what they were when you were breeched—but that's a detail.

    Young Blood

    E. W. Hornung

  • Little Edward was breeched yesterday for good and all, and was whipped into the bargain.

  • I was just the same when I was a boy; began to go to the devil before I was breeched.


British Dictionary definitions for breeched

breech

noun (briːtʃ)
  1. the lower dorsal part of the human trunk; buttocks; rump
  2. the lower part or bottom of somethingthe breech of the bridge
  3. the lower portion of a pulley block, esp the part to which the rope or chain is secured
  4. the part of a firearm behind the barrel or bore
  5. obstetrics short for breech delivery
verb (briːtʃ, brɪtʃ) (tr)
  1. to fit (a gun) with a breech
  2. archaic to clothe in breeches or any other clothing
See also breeches

Word Origin

Old English brēc, plural of brōc leg covering; related to Old Norse brōk, Old High German bruoh

usage

Breech is sometimes wrongly used as a verb where breach is meant: the barrier/agreement was breached (not breeched)
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

Word Origin and History for breeched

breech

n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

breeched in Medicine

breech

(brēch)
n.
  1. 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.