[ brest ]
See synonyms for breast on
  1. 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.

  2. Zoology. the corresponding part in quadrupeds.

  1. 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.

  2. the part of a garment that covers the chest.

  3. the bosom conceived of as the center of emotion: What anger lay in his breast when he made that speech?

  4. a projection from a wall, as part of a chimney.

  5. any surface or part resembling or likened to the human breast.

  6. Mining. the face or heading at which the work is going on.

  7. Metallurgy.

    • the front of an open-hearth furnace.

    • the clay surrounding the taphole of a cupola.

  8. Nautical.

verb (used with object)
  1. to meet or oppose boldly; confront: As a controversial public figure he has breasted much hostile criticism.

  2. to contend with or advance against: The ship breasted the turbulent seas.

  1. to climb or climb over (a mountain, obstacle, etc.).

  2. to overcome, succeed against.

  3. to come alongside or abreast of.

Verb Phrases
  1. breast in, Nautical. to bind (an object, as a boatswain's chair) securely under a projection, as the flare of a bow.

  2. breast off, Nautical.

    • to thrust (a vessel) sideways from a wharf.

    • to keep (a vessel) away from a wharf by means of timbers.

Idioms about breast

  1. beat one's breast, to display one's grief, remorse, etc., in a loud and demonstrative manner.

  2. 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.

Origin of breast

before 1000; Middle English brest,Old English brēost; cognate with Old Norse brjōst; akin to German Brust,Gothic brusts,Dutch borst

Other words from breast

  • breastless, adjective

Words Nearby breast Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use breast in a sentence

  • "Here's my authority, yuh blasted runt," he yelled, and jerked his six-shooter to a level with the policeman's breast.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • It is something which takes side in the child's breast with the reasonable governor and the laws which he or she administers.

    Children's Ways | James Sully
  • Alessandro walked at the horses' heads, his face sunk on his breast, his eyes fixed on the ground.

    Ramona | Helen Hunt Jackson
  • We laid him down gently, folded his arms on his breast, and for a moment held our peace in tribute to his passing.

    Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • The governor placed a dagger to his breast in order to get him to tell what he knew of his wife.

British Dictionary definitions for breast


/ (brɛst) /

  1. the front part of the body from the neck to the abdomen; chest

  2. either of the two soft fleshy milk-secreting glands on the chest in sexually mature human females: adjective mammary

  1. a similar organ in certain other mammals

  2. anything that resembles a breast in shape or position: the breast of the hill

  3. a source of nourishment: the city took the victims to its breast

  4. the source of human emotions

  5. the part of a garment that covers the breast

  6. a projection from the side of a wall, esp that formed by a chimney

  7. mining the face being worked at the end of a tunnel

  8. beat one's breast to display guilt and remorse publicly or ostentatiously

  9. make a clean breast of to make a confession of

  1. to confront boldly; face: breast the storm

  2. to oppose with the breast or meet at breast level: breasting the waves

  1. to come alongside of: breast the ship

  2. to reach the summit of: breasting the mountain top

Origin of breast

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with breast


see keep abreast of; make a clean breast of.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.