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See also: breach



From Middle English breche, from Old English brēċ, from Proto-Germanic *brōkiz pl, from Proto-Germanic *brōks (clothing for loins and thighs). Cognate with Dutch broek, Alemannic German Bruech, Swedish brok.



breech (countable and uncountable, plural breeches)

  1. (historical, now only in the plural) A garment whose purpose is to cover or clothe the buttocks. [from 11th c.]
  2. (now rare) The buttocks or backside. [from 16th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, Kupperman, published 1988, page 157:
      And he made a woman for playing the whore, sit upon a great stone, on her bare breech twenty-foure houres, onely with corne and water, every three dayes, till nine dayes were past []
    • 1736, Alexander Pope, Bounce to Fop:
      When pamper'd Cupids, bestly Veni's, / And motly, squinting Harvequini's, / Shall lick no more their Lady's Br—, / But die of Looseness, Claps, or Itch; / Fair Thames from either ecchoing Shoare / Shall hear, and dread my manly Roar.
    • 1749, Henry Fielding, chapter VIII, in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, volumes (please specify |volume=I to VI), London: A[ndrew] Millar, [], →OCLC, book III:
      "Oho!" says Thwackum, "you will not! then I will have it out of your br—h;" that being the place to which he always applied for information on every doubtful occasion.
  3. (firearms) The part of a cannon or other firearm behind the chamber. [from 16th c.]
    Coordinate term: muzzle
  4. (nautical) The external angle of knee timber, the inside of which is called the throat.
  5. (obstetrics) A breech birth.

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breech (not comparable)

  1. (obstetrics, of birth) With the hips coming out before the head.

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breech (not comparable)

  1. (obstetrics) Born, or having been born, breech.



breech (third-person singular simple present breeches, present participle breeching, simple past and past participle breeched)

  1. (dated, transitive) To dress in breeches. (especially) To dress a boy in breeches or trousers for the first time (the breeching ceremony).
  2. (dated, transitive) To beat or spank on the buttocks.
  3. (transitive) To fit or furnish with a breech.
    to breech a gun
  4. (transitive) To fasten with breeching.
  5. (poetic, transitive, obsolete) To cover as if with breeches.

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