[ brich-iz, bree-chiz ]
/ ˈbrɪtʃ ɪz, ˈbri tʃɪz /

noun (used with a plural verb)

Also called knee breeches. knee-length trousers, often having ornamental buckles or elaborate decoration at or near the bottoms, commonly worn by men and boys in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries.
Informal. trousers.


    too big for one's breeches, asserting oneself beyond one's authority or ability.

Origin of breeches

1125–75; Middle English, plural of breech
Can be confusedbreeches britches

Definition for breeches (2 of 2)


[ noun breech; verb breech, brich ]
/ noun britʃ; verb britʃ, brɪtʃ /


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 breeches

British Dictionary definitions for breeches (1 of 2)


/ (ˈbrɪtʃɪz, ˈbriː-) /

pl n

trousers extending to the knee or just below, worn for riding, mountaineering, etc
informal, or dialect any trousers
too big for one's breeches conceited; unduly self-confident

British Dictionary definitions for breeches (2 of 2)


noun (briːtʃ)

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

Medicine definitions for breeches


[ brēch ]


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.