See more synonyms for breach on
  1. the act or a result of breaking; break or rupture.
  2. an infraction or violation, as of a law, trust, faith, or promise.
  3. a gap made in a wall, fortification, line of soldiers, etc.; rift; fissure.
  4. a severance of friendly relations.
  5. the leap of a whale above the surface of the water.
  6. Archaic. the breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.
  7. Obsolete. wound1.
verb (used with object)
  1. to make a breach or opening in.
  2. to break or act contrary to (a law, promise, etc.).
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.

Origin of breach

before 1000; Middle English breche, Old English bræc breaking; see break
Related formsbreach·er, nounnon·breach, nounnon·breach·ing, adjectiveun·breached, adjective
Can be confusedbreach breech

Synonyms for breach

See more synonyms for on

Synonym study

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for breaching

Contemporary Examples of breaching

Historical Examples of breaching

  • Armstrong guns, which were also ordered to assist in breaching Omdurman's walls.

  • The round-house was built very strong, to support the breaching of the seas.


    Robert Louis Stevenson

  • "There's a shark or a swordfish, or something, breaching," he said.

    Cappy Ricks Retires

    Peter B. Kyne

  • These opened a siege by filling the moat and mining, or breaching the wall, etc.

  • Away they went, breaching and jumping entirely out of water.

British Dictionary definitions for breaching


  1. a crack, break, or rupture
  2. a breaking, infringement, or violation of a promise, obligation, etc
  3. any severance or separationthere was a breach between the two factions of the party
  4. a gap in an enemy's fortifications or line of defence created by bombardment or attack
  5. the act of a whale in breaking clear of the water
  6. the breaking of sea waves on a shore or rock
  7. 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
  3. (intr) (of a whale) to break clear of the water

Word Origin for 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

Word Origin and History for breaching



Old English bryce "breach, fracture, a breaking," from brecan (see break), influenced by Old French breche "breach, opening, gap," from Frankish; both from Proto-Germanic *brecho, *bræko "broken," from PIE root *bhreg- "to break" (see fraction). Figurative sense of "a breaking of rules, etc." was in Old English Breach of contract is at least from 1660s.



1570s, from breach (n.). Related: Breached; breaching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper