Share this entry

breeches Line breaks: breeches
Pronunciation: /ˈbrɪtʃɪz/

Definition of breeches in English:

plural noun

1Short trousers fastened just below the knee, now chiefly worn for riding or as part of ceremonial dress: a pair of buckskin breeches
More example sentences
  • He was still a little mad she had worn breeches under her dress.
  • He was dressed in burgundy velvet breeches, waistcoat and frock, with a silk and lace white shirt.
  • She had braided her hair, and dressed in breeches and tunic, her riding gloves tucked into her belt.
1.1 informal Trousers.


Middle English: plural of breech.

  • Breeches are old-fashioned trousers that are now worn for riding or as part of ceremonial dress. Like trousers and pants ( see pantaloons), the word is now always plural, but it used to be singular. From Anglo-Saxon times until the 16th century a breech was a garment covering the groin and thighs, like a loincloth or kilt, still found in the old-fashioned breech-clout. A breech was also a person's bottom, a sense which survives in breech birth, in which the buttocks or feet of a baby are delivered first. The idea of ‘back’ or ‘end’ is also preserved in the breech of a gun, the back part of the barrel.

Words that rhyme with breeches

showbiz • laches • Marches

Definition of breeches in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day confidant
Pronunciation: ˈkɒnfɪdant
a person with whom one shares a secret...