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breach Line breaks: breach
Pronunciation: /briːtʃ/

Definition of breach in English:


1An act of breaking or failing to observe a law, agreement, or code of conduct: a breach of confidence [mass noun]: I sued for breach of contract
More example sentences
  • It says his actions were not in breach of the code of conduct, but he should have been advised by a planning officer and a note kept of the discussion and then circulated.
  • This kind of moonlighting is in breach of the code of conduct of the civil service, according to a report by the government service commission.
  • In the month before her death she had given a patient an injection when she was not qualified to do so, in breach of the nursing code of conduct and hospital policy.
1.1A break in relations: a widening breach between government and Church
More example sentences
  • But once the tanks had rolled over the tents of the hunger strikers and once the bodies had been removed and the blood washed away, what was left was a breach between party and people that would never heal.
  • And he should tell the Cuban leader that his revolution won't be won until the breach between Cuba and the USA is mended.
  • Frankly, it would be difficult to imagine a greater breach between what residents of Toronto want for their city and the decisions that are being made about it.
rift, gulf, chasm, division, difference, schism, disunion, estrangement, alienation, discord, dissension, disaffection;
quarrel, falling-out
British informal bust-up
rare scission
2A gap in a wall, barrier, or defence, especially one made by an attacking army: a breach in the mountain wall
More example sentences
  • The CASEVAC used the breach made by the sappers to get the vehicles on the OBJ.
  • To prevent such an assault, defenders were forced to attack the siege engines or their operators to prevent a breach in their fortifications.
  • The soldiers gave chase as their attack was shifted to the breach in the city wall.


[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;
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.


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


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.

Words that rhyme with breach

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

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Pronunciation: ˈdo͞ofəs
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