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A man wearing breeches.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for breeches in
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)

Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English breches (plural) (also brechen), a variant of Middle English breche, brech, brek (breeches), from Old English brēċ (breeches), from Proto-Germanic *brōkiz (nominative/accusative plural), from Proto-Germanic *brōks (trousers); akin to Old Norse brók (breeches), Danish brog, Dutch broek, German Bruch f; compare Latin bracae ( > French braies) which is of Celtic origin. Compare brail.




  1. plural of breech
  2. A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs; smallclothes.
    • 1829, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, "The Devil's Thoughts,"
      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.
  3. (informal) Trousers; pantaloons; britches.

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