Meaning of breech in English:


Pronunciation /briːtʃ/

See synonyms for breech on

Translate breech into Spanish


  • 1The part of a cannon behind the bore.

    ‘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.’
    • ‘The 155 mm main gun is equipped with a screw type breech and an electrical trigger mechanism.’
    1. 1.1The back part of a rifle or gun barrel.
      ‘the 47-round ammunition drum fits over the breech’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This is a device located on and in the breech of a howitzer.’
      • ‘I looked at my pistol, the breech popped open, he looked at his shotgun.’
      • ‘Carpenter slid fresh shells into the breech of the gun and closed it with a well-oiled snick.’
  • 2 archaic A person's buttocks.

    ‘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.’
    buttocks, behind, backside, bottom, rear, rear end, seat, haunches, cheeks


  • Relating to or denoting presentation of a fetus in which the buttocks, rump, or legs are nearest the cervix and emerge first at birth.

    ‘breech presentation occurs in up to 3 per cent of pregnancies at term’
    • ‘my second son was breech and my doctor recommended a planned C-section’
    • ‘She revealed her son is in the breech presentation and she is hoping to avoid a C-section.’
    • ‘When a baby is in the breech position at the end of pregnancy, obstetricians can sometimes turn the baby head-down.’
    • ‘He went over the facts about breech birth.’
    • ‘Our daughter was an undiagnosed feet first breech birth.’
    • ‘I had a very difficult breech pregnancy with complications.’
    • ‘Four of the five babies were breech deliveries.’
    • ‘Birth by Cesarean section is only encouraged in the event of a complication, such as breech positioning or stalled labor.’
    • ‘She was rushed into surgery when doctors discovered the baby was breech.’
    • ‘My second son was breech and my doctor recommended a planned C-section.’
    • ‘Why do doctors panic when the baby is breech at 37 weeks?’


[with object] historical
  • Dress (a boy) in breeches after he had been in petticoats since birth.

    ‘in those days it wasn't customary to breech a boy until he was about four’
    • ‘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’ (breech (sense 2 of the noun), mid 16th century), later ‘the hind part’ of anything.