[ breech ]
See synonyms for: breachbreachedbreaching on

  1. the act or a result of breaking; a break or rupture: Many districts were flooded by the river after a breach in an embankment upstream.

  2. an infraction or violation, such as of a law, contract, trust, or promise: If there is a breach of the warranty, we are not liable for damage.

  1. a gap made in a wall, fortification, line of soldiers, etc.; rift; fissure: A breach in the castle walls gave the enemy an entrance.

  2. Digital Technology. the unauthorized acquisition, use, or disclosure of customers' or users' personal data: There's no indication of a data breach affecting credit card information.

  3. a severance of friendly relations.

  4. the leap of a whale above the surface of the water.

  5. Archaic. the breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.

  6. Obsolete. wound1.

verb (used with object)
  1. to make a rupture or opening in: We need new ways to recover salmon without breaching the dams.

  2. to break or act contrary to (a law, promise, etc.): The plaintiff alleges that the defendant has breached the terms of their license.

verb (used without object)
  1. (of a whale) to leap partly or completely out of the water, head first, and land on the back or belly with a resounding splash.

Idioms about breach

  1. more honored in the breach (than the observance),

    • (of a rule, law, custom, etc.) frequently ignored or rarely carried out: Courtly love was just an ideal, more honored in the breach than the observance.Even the best advice may be more honored in the breach.

    • (of a rule, law, custom, etc.) unjust or ignoble to the point of being better to ignore: They agreed that the promises made to their unfit leader would be more honored in the breach than the observance.

Origin of breach

First recorded before 1000; Middle English breche, Old English bræc “breaking”; see break

synonym study For breach

2. Breach, infraction, violation, transgression all denote in some way the breaking of a rule or law or the upsetting of a normal and desired state. Breach is used infrequently in reference to laws or rules, more often in connection with desirable conditions or states of affairs: a breach of the peace, of good manners, of courtesy. Infraction most often refers to clearly formulated rules or laws: an infraction of the criminal code, of university regulations, of a labor contract. Violation, a stronger term than either of the preceding two, often suggests intentional, even forceful or aggressive, refusal to obey the law or to respect the rights of others: repeated violations of parking regulations; a human rights violation. Transgression, with its root sense of “a stepping across (of a boundary of some sort),” applies to any behavior that exceeds the limits imposed by a law, especially a moral law, a commandment, or an order; it often implies sinful behavior: a serious transgression of social customs, of God's commandments.

Other words for breach

Other words from breach

  • breach·er, noun
  • non·breach, noun
  • non·breach·ing, adjective
  • un·breached, adjective

Words that may be confused with breach Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use breach in a sentence

  • Now the lead breacher explained how he cut through the steel doors bin Laden used to seal himself into the compound at night.

    I Shot Bin Laden | Elliot Ackerman | November 16, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • But I gets me oup und puts on mein new silk vrock und tinks me I shall go to some fine churches und hear ein grosse breacher.

    Recitations for the Social Circle | James Clarence Harvey
  • We reat, Mr. Breacher, dat Taniel vos cast into de ten of lions, and came out alife.

    Recitations for the Social Circle | James Clarence Harvey
  • And den, Mister Breacher, it ish said dat Jonah vash cast into de sea, and taken into de whale's pelly.

    Recitations for the Social Circle | James Clarence Harvey

British Dictionary definitions for breach


/ (briːtʃ) /

  1. a crack, break, or rupture

  2. a breaking, infringement, or violation of a promise, obligation, etc

  1. any severance or separation: there was a breach between the two factions of the party

  2. a gap in an enemy's fortifications or line of defence created by bombardment or attack

  3. the act of a whale in breaking clear of the water

  4. the breaking of sea waves on a shore or rock

  5. an obsolete word for wound 1

  1. (tr) to break through or make an opening, hole, or incursion in

  2. (tr) to break a promise, law, etc

  1. (intr) (of a whale) to break clear of the water

Origin of breach

Old English bræc; influenced by Old French brèche, from Old High German brecha, from brechan to break

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