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breech Line breaks: breech
Pronunciation: /briːtʃ/

Definition of breech in English:


1The part of a cannon behind the bore.
Example sentences
  • The British reloaded their weapons, filling the breech with powder and using their rods to push in the balls.
  • Each shell ejecting from the breech, followed by another and another.
  • He came out of his roll into a kneeling position and loaded a fresh shot into the breech.
1.1The back part of a rifle or gun barrel: the 47-round ammunition drum fits over the breech
More example sentences
  • René rose and picked up the rifle, checking the breech in the firelight to make sure it was loaded.
  • All he held was the barrel and part of the breech.
  • Problems were overcome by innovations such as the brass cartridge case and the device which sealed the breech.
2 archaic A person’s buttocks.
Example sentences
  • The punishment of the men is to be laid on a bench and slapped on the breech with a pair of boots.
  • A seaman fell from a height of about seventy feet; he fell on his breech.


[with object] archaic Back to top  
Dress (a boy) in breeches after he has been in petticoats since birth: in those days it wasn’t customary to breech a boy until he was about four
More example sentences
  • In those days it wasn't customary to breech a boy until he was about four.
  • Young boys wore skirts with doublets or back-fastening bodices until they were breeched at six to eight.


Old English brēc (plural of brōc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch broek), interpreted as a singular form. The original sense was 'garment covering the loins and thighs' (compare with breeches), hence 'the buttocks' (sense 2 of the noun, mid 16th century), later 'the hind part' of anything.

Words that rhyme with breech

beach, beech, beseech, bleach, breach, each, impeach, leach, leech, outreach, peach, pleach, preach, reach, screech, speech, teach
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