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breeches

[brich-iz] /ˈbrɪtʃ ɪz/
noun, (used with a plural verb)
1.
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.
3.
Informal. trousers.
Idioms
4.
too big for one's breeches, asserting oneself beyond one's authority or ability.
Origin
1125-1175
1125-75; Middle English, plural of breech
Can be confused
breeches, britches.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for too big her breeches

breeches

/ˈbrɪtʃɪz; ˈbriː-/
plural noun
1.
trousers extending to the knee or just below, worn for riding, mountaineering, etc
2.
(informal or dialect) any trousers
3.
too big for one's breeches, conceited; unduly self-confident
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 too big her breeches

breeches

n.

c.1200, a double plural, from Old English brec "breeches," which already was plural of broc "garment for the legs and trunk," from Proto-Germanic *brokiz (cf. Old Norse brok, Dutch broek, Danish brog, Old High German bruoh, German Bruch, obsolete since 18c. except in Swiss dialect), perhaps from PIE root *bhreg- (see break (v.)). The Proto-Germanic word is a parallel form to Celtic *bracca, source (via Gaulish) of Latin braca (cf. French braies), and some propose that the Germanic word group is borrowed from Gallo-Latin, others that the Celtic was from Germanic.

Expanded sense of "part of the body covered by breeches, posterior" led to senses in childbirthing (1670s) and gunnery ("the part of a firearm behind the bore," 1570s). As the popular word for "trousers" in English, displaced in U.S. c.1840 by pants. The Breeches Bible (Geneva Bible of 1560) so called on account of rendition of Gen. iii:7 (already in Wyclif) "They sewed figge leaues together, and made themselues breeches."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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too big her breeches in the Bible

(Ex. 28:42), rather linen drawers, reaching from the waist to a little above the knee, worn by the priests (Ezek. 44:17, 18).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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