Definition of breach in English:


Line breaks: breach
Pronunciation: /briːtʃ



[with object] Back to top  
  • 1Make a gap in and break through (a wall, barrier, or defence): the river breached its bank
    More example sentences
    • For the first fortnight the Turks assaulted the land defences, breaching the outer walls, but could still not get inside.
    • Last year's floods in Gowdall led to over 100 properties being flooded after a barrier bank was breached by the River Aire.
    • That includes bringing back the 10-acre lake built in the 1740s, but drained in 1922 when the dam wall was breached.
    break (through), burst (through), rupture, force itself through, split
    informal bust
  • 1.1Break or fail to observe (a law, agreement, or code of conduct): these outside bodies are bootlegging albums and breaching copyright
    More example sentences
    • A councillor who tried to hit a protester at a public meeting breached a code of conduct but will not face disciplinary action, an investigation found yesterday.
    • But the Board has decided not to refer the matter to an Ethical Standards Officer for investigation as it has ruled that the comments had not breached its code of conduct.
    • This worship is bred out of either greed of knowledge and favours or the fear of having breached some code of conduct, and sometimes out of respect for having found the answer.
    break, contravene, violate, fail to comply with, infringe, transgress against; defy, disobey, flout, fly in the face of; Law infract
  • 2 [no object] (Of a whale) rise and break through the surface of the water: we saw whales breaching in the distance
    More example sentences
    • Glass structures fascinate me, and I'd like to work with that someday, to create a dolphin leaping out of the water or a whale breaching, something like that.
    • Where would we be as a nation without bald eagles soaring over the Chesapeake Bay, wolves howling from the backcountry of Yellowstone or gray whales breaching from Pacific waters?
    • Barely fifty yards from the boat a Humped Back Whale breached, rising over thirty feet out of the water before twisting and falling back into the sea with an amazing crash.


breach of the peace

British Public disturbance, or an act considered likely to cause one: a man was convicted of causing a breach of the peace during the demonstration
More example sentences
  • Despite the lack of defense, the tribunal condemned the accused to death for culpable homicide unlawful assembly and breach of the peace.
  • One of the most important offences is that of behaving in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace at common law.
  • They were held on charges ranging from being drunk and disorderly, breach of the peace and public order offences.

breach of promise

The action of breaking a sworn assurance to do something, formerly especially to marry someone: Anastasia cherishes the recollection of having won an action for breach of promise
More example sentences
  • Would an action for damages for breach of promise of marriage be within this?
  • But in litigation over breach of promise for payment of damages, it was possible that she might claim to have been engaged to a more promising man.
  • The decision suggests that a legal remedy for a breach of promise by a politician, while not impossible, is very difficult to achieve.

step into the breach

Replace someone who is suddenly unable to do a job or task: I can’t think of anyone who could step into the breach should I become ill
More example sentences
  • Others argue that it is extremely unlikely that the Scottish Executive or Westminster would suddenly step into the breach and come to the rescue with a potful of cash.
  • He suggested that if the Rivers Agency did not have the manpower to complete the task then the Council would be more than happy to step into the breach.
  • Perhaps now that society doesn't reward the maternal instinct in the way it once did there is a gap to fill and men, newly emasculated, are stepping into the breach.


Middle English: from Old French breche, ultimately of Germanic origin; related to break1.

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody