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[breech] /britʃ/
the act or a result of breaking; break or rupture.
an infraction or violation, as of a law, trust, faith, or promise.
a gap made in a wall, fortification, line of soldiers, etc.; rift; fissure.
a severance of friendly relations.
the leap of a whale above the surface of the water.
Archaic. the breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.
Obsolete. wound1 .
verb (used with object)
to make a breach or opening in.
to break or act contrary to (a law, promise, etc.).
verb (used without object)
(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 forms
breacher, noun
nonbreach, noun
nonbreaching, adjective
unbreached, adjective
Can be confused
breach, breech (see synonym study at the current entry)
1. fracture. 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. 3. crack, rent, opening. 4. alienation, split, rift, schism, separation; dissension. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for breached
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But the wall of habit once breached, the citadel of conscience laid bare, what garrison was revealed?

    Demos George Gissing
  • Twice the ramparts were breached, and only nightfall had saved the situation.

    The Watchers of the Plains Ridgewell Cullum
  • But, no—fifty yards further on, the wall was breached, and toppled boulders formed a perilous but not impossible stairway.

    World of the Drone Robert Abernathy
  • By and by it breached and was out of sight for a short time.

    Swept Out to Sea W. Bertram Foster
  • The walls of Casa Mata had not been breached, and there were no ladders.

British Dictionary definitions for breached


a crack, break, or rupture
a breaking, infringement, or violation of a promise, obligation, etc
any severance or separation: there was a breach between the two factions of the party
a gap in an enemy's fortifications or line of defence created by bombardment or attack
the act of a whale in breaking clear of the water
the breaking of sea waves on a shore or rock
an obsolete word for wound1
(transitive) to break through or make an opening, hole, or incursion in
(transitive) to break a promise, law, etc
(intransitive) (of a whale) to break clear of the water
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for breached



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
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breached in the Bible

an opening in a wall (1 Kings 11:27; 2 Kings 12:5); the fracture of a limb (Lev. 24:20), and hence the expression, "Heal, etc." (Ps. 60:2). Judg. 5:17, a bay or harbour; R.V., "by his creeks."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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