breeches

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English[edit]

A man wearing breeches.

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English breches, brechen pl, a variant of Middle English breche, brech, brek (breeches), from Old English brēċ (underpants), from Proto-Germanic *brōkiz pl (nom.acc.), from Proto-Germanic *brōks (trousers); akin to Old Norse brók (breeches), Danish brog, Dutch broek, German Bruch f; compare Latin brācae ( > French braies) which is immediately of Celtic origin, and likely ultimately from the same Germanic origin above. Compare brail.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • (plural of breech):
    IPA(key): /ˈbɹiː.t͡ʃɪz/
    (file)
  • (smallclothes; trousers):
    IPA(key): /ˈbɹɪ.t͡ʃɪz/ (traditional)
    (file)
    IPA(key): /ˈbɹiː.t͡ʃɪz/ (more recent spelling pronunciation)
    (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪtʃɪz, -iːtʃɪz

Noun[edit]

breeches

  1. plural of breech

Noun[edit]

breeches pl (plural only)

  1. A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs; smallclothes.
    • 1834 [1799], Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Robert Southey, “The Devil's Thoughts”, in The Poetical Works of S. T. Coleridge, volume II, London: W. Pickering, page 83:
      And how then was the Devil drest? / Oh! he was in his Sunday's best: / His jacket was red and his breeches were blue, / And there was a hole where the tail came through.
  2. (informal) Trousers; pantaloons.
    Synonyms: trousers, pants

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