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From Middle English brest, from Old English brēost, 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. Either of the two organs on the front of a woman's chest, which contain the mammary glands; also the analogous organs in men.
    Tanya's breasts grew alarmingly during pregnancy.
  2. The chest, or front of the human thorax.
    • 1798, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner"
      The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon.
  3. A section of clothing covering the breast area.
  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.
    • Shakespeare
      He has a loyal breast.
  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.
    a chimney breast; a plough breast
    • Milton
      Mountains on whose barren breast / The labouring clouds do often rest.
  8. (mining) The face of a coal working.
  9. (mining) The front of a furnace.
  10. (obsolete) The power of singing; a musical voice.
    • Shakespeare
      By my troth, the fool has an excellent breast.



Derived terms[edit]


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

  1. (transitive) To push against with the breast; to meet full on, to oppose, to face.
    He breasted the hill and saw the town before him.
    • Wirt
      The court breasted the popular current by sustaining the demurrer.