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Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English brest, from Old English brēost, from Proto-West Germanic *breust, from Proto-Germanic *breustą, from Proto-Indo-European *bʰrews- (to swell). Compare West Frisian boarst, Danish bryst, Swedish bröst; cf. also Dutch borst, German Brust.



breast (plural breasts)

A breast
  1. (anatomy) Either of the two organs on the front of a female human's chest, which contain the mammary glands; also the analogous organs in males.
    Tanya's breasts grew remarkably during pregnancy.
  2. (anatomy) The chest, or front of the human thorax.
  3. A section of clothing covering the breast area.
    • 1956, Anthony Burgess, Time for a Tiger (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 45:
      By the time he reached the War Memorial damp had soaked through the breasts of his shirt.
  4. The figurative seat of the emotions, feelings etc.; one's heart or innermost thoughts.
    She kindled hope in the breast of all who heard her.
  5. The ventral portion of an animal's thorax.
    The robin has a red breast.
  6. A choice cut of poultry, especially chicken or turkey, taken from the bird’s breast; also a cut of meat from other animals, breast of mutton, veal, pork.
    Would you like breast or wing?
  7. The front or forward part of anything.
    chimney breast
    plough breast
    • 2015 April 7, Jeff Howell, “The secret of longer lasting tiles [print version: How to avoid cracking up, 4 April 2015, p. P7]”, in The Daily Telegraph (Property)[1], archived from the original on 22 April 2015:
      If you burn wood on its own, the flue gases are cooler than from a coal fire. This can result in tars condensing out within the parging and brickwork of the flue, sometimes causing brown or yellow staining on upstairs chimney breasts.
  8. The upper surface of a landform or body of water.
  9. (mining) The face of a coal working.
  10. (mining) The front of a furnace.
  11. (obsolete) The power of singing; a musical voice.
  12. (swimming) The breaststroke.



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


breast (third-person singular simple present breasts, present participle breasting, simple past and past participle breasted)

  1. (transitive, often figurative) To push against with the breast; to meet full on, oppose, face.
    • 1817, William Wirt, Sketches of the Life and Character of Patrick Henry[2], page 22:
      [] when the court, very much to the credit of their candour and firmness, breasted the popular current by sustaining the demurrer.
  2. To reach the top (of a hill).
    He breasted the hill and saw the town before him.
    • 1947 January and February, O. S. Nock, “"The Aberdonian" in Wartime”, in Railway Magazine, page 8:
      With the sea below us grey and storm swept, and the coast line vague in the driving rain, we forged our way up the bank to breast the summit at 37 m.p.h.
    • 1960 March, Cecil J. Allen, “Locomotive Running Past and Present”, in Trains Illustrated, page 178:
      But this was excelled by the remarkable feat of Iron Duke, on the second run, in accelerating from a dead start at Miller's Dale up 1 in 90 to no less than 53 m.p.h. before breasting the summit at Peak Forest.
  3. (transitive, cooking) To debreast.
    • 2005, Texas Judicial Cookbook: Hello There!:
      Breast the birds; wash and dry well. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place the birds in a roasting pan.