[noun breech; verb breech, brich]


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 formsun·breeched, adjective
Can be confusedbreach breech (see synonym study at breach) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breech

Contemporary Examples of breech

  • This is exactly the breech into which progressive women should step.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Dems Need a Bachmann!

    Gloria Feldt

    September 10, 2011

Historical Examples of breech

  • 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.

  • They wore only leggings, shirts, breech clouts and a blanket.

British Dictionary definitions for breech


noun (briːtʃ)

the lower dorsal part of the human trunk; buttocks; rump
the lower part or bottom of somethingthe 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 (briːtʃ, brɪtʃ) (tr)

to fit (a gun) with a breech
archaic to clothe in breeches or any other clothing
See also breeches

Word Origin for breech

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


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 breech

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for breech




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.