[ breech ]
/ britʃ /


verb (used with object)

to make a breach or opening in.
to break or act contrary to (a law, promise, etc.).

verb (used without object)

(of a whale) to leap partly or completely out of the water, head first, and land on the back or belly with a resounding splash.

Origin of breach

before 1000; Middle English breche, Old English bræc breaking; see break

synonym study for breach

2. Breach, infraction, violation, transgression all denote in some way the breaking of a rule or law or the upsetting of a normal and desired state. Breach is used infrequently in reference to laws or rules, more often in connection with desirable conditions or states of affairs: a breach of the peace, of good manners, of courtesy. Infraction most often refers to clearly formulated rules or laws: an infraction of the criminal code, of university regulations, of a labor contract. Violation, a stronger term than either of the preceding two, often suggests intentional, even forceful or aggressive, refusal to obey the law or to respect the rights of others: repeated violations of parking regulations; a human rights violation. Transgression, with its root sense of “a stepping across (of a boundary of some sort),” applies to any behavior that exceeds the limits imposed by a law, especially a moral law, a commandment, or an order; it often implies sinful behavior: a serious transgression of social customs, of God's commandments.


breach·er, noun non·breach, noun non·breach·ing, adjective un·breached, adjective


breach breech


What does breach mean?

A breach is a physical break or rupture, as in the hull of a ship. It also means a violation or infraction, as in a breach of trust. It can also be used as a verb referring to the action that leads to each of these things.

Breach is often used in phrases like security breach, data breach, breach of trust, breach of etiquette, and breach of contract. 

Example: We view these ethical violations as an unforgivable breach of the public trust, and we call on the senator to resign.

Where does breach come from?

Breach has been in use since before 1000. It comes from the same roots as the word break, and all of its senses relate to breaking or breaking through something.

In a physical sense, to breach something is to break through it. This is often applied to things that aren’t supposed to break, such as the hull of a ship or a thick wall, as in They’ve breached the castle gate! The resulting hole is called a breach.

The figurative sense of breach follows the same pattern. To breach something in this way is to violate it. It’s often applied to abstract things, as in breach the peace. In its figurative sense, it’s perhaps more commonly used as a noun, as in phrases like breach of trust and breach of friendship (in which cases it often refers to a betrayal) and breach of etiquette (meaning a violation of proper behavior). In a legal sense, you can breach a contract by not following it (resulting in a breach of contract). When someone bypasses security, it’s called a security breach. When hackers steal information, it’s called a data breach.

A little more specifically, it’s called a breach when a whale breaches the surface of the water by thrusting itself up out of it.

Breach should not be confused with the homophone breech, which generally refers to the lower part of something.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to breach?

  • breacher (noun)
  • nonbreach (noun)
  • nonbreaching (adjective)
  • unbreached (adjective)

What are some synonyms for breach?

What are some words that share a root or word element with breach

What are some words that often get used in discussing breach?



What are some words breach may be commonly confused with?



How is breach used in real life?

Breach refers to things that have been broken or violated. The break can be physical, but breach more commonly refers to violations of abstract things.



Try using breach!

Which of the following words is a synonym for breach?

A. agreement
B. violation
C. reconciliation
D. broken

Example sentences from the Web for breach

British Dictionary definitions for breach

/ (briːtʃ) /



Word Origin for breach

Old English bræc; influenced by Old French brèche, from Old High German brecha, from brechan to break