Definition of Breton in English:



  • 1A native of Brittany.

    • ‘It is said the collection of pirates included Spaniards, French, Bretons and Irish.’
    • ‘Many of the men in these advance parties were native Bretons familiar with the countryside and the people.’
    • ‘In the years after the conquest, Normans, Flemings, Bretons, and other Frenchmen also took key posts.’
    • ‘His is a thesis that Celts, Bretons, and Galicians had more in common with one another than they did with their inland kin.’
    • ‘He fought a masterful defensive campaign, humiliating the French and Bretons.’
    • ‘Most Bretons speak both French and Breton, a Celtic language related to Welsh and Cornish.’
    • ‘Then, on the Norman left, the Bretons under Count Alan began to give way.’
    • ‘A few of the new landlords were Bretons and men from Flanders and Lorraine but most were Normans.’
    • ‘Unlike the rest of France, the Bretons don't eat much cheese.’
    • ‘William's left, comprised of Bretons, broke in panic amidst rumours that the duke was slain.’
    • ‘Threatened by a company of Bretons, the Sienese hired their own force of seven thousand mercenaries.’
    • ‘In 1968 the Bretons, established a committee to research the development of the province.’
    • ‘Not all the new lords were Normans, but all came from the south, among them Bretons, Flemings, and Lotharingians.’
    • ‘In some countries, national minorities have been almost completely integrated (e.g. Bretons in France).’
    • ‘The Bretons were reputed to be fickle and changeable, and were often reproached for the death of Arthur.’
    • ‘The wines of the Loire continued to be held in high regard, and not only by the Bretons.’
    • ‘Eventually, a sortie was made against them and the Bretons turned and ran.’
    • ‘The Bretons even have their own language which is taught in schools and still spoken by many country-folk.’
    • ‘In Wales, William Rufus appointed Hervé, a Breton, as bishop of Bangor in 1092.’
    • ‘Again Breton may have to turn to the French government for the resources to make job cuts palatable.’
    • ‘This is all driven by the head chef, a big, round Breton with a fanatical love for Vietnamese food.’
    • ‘But Brittany was a poor province and any Breton who wanted to get on learned French and left.’
  • 2mass noun The Celtic language of Brittany, derived from Cornish. It has around 500,000 speakers.

    • ‘Most Bretons speak both French and Breton, a Celtic language related to Welsh and Cornish.’
    • ‘It refers to a radio station in Brittany, France, that broadcasts only in Breton.’
    • ‘Largely the same can be said of another Celtic language, Breton.’
    • ‘Many still spoke Breton, a Celtic language, as their native tongue.’
    • ‘Welsh, is a Celtic language belonging to the Brythonic group consisting of Breton, Welsh, and the extinct Cornish.’
    • ‘Within France itself, other spoken languages include Breton, Flemish, Spanish, and Catalan.’
    • ‘There were substantial minorities who spoke a very different language: Breton, Flemish, German, Catalan, or Basque.’
    • ‘Regional languages and dialects such as Breton are still in use, and some are taught in regional schools.’
    • ‘Speakers of Breton, Irish, and Welsh will now be able to use their languages more easily on the Web.’
    • ‘They were formed in 1987 performing Breton, medieval Irish, Latin and Greek compositions.’
    • ‘First they wanted us to speak French, now they want us to speak Breton.’
    • ‘It was not exclusive, in that one could be both French and Breton.’
    • ‘These people were responsible for spreading a distinctive language, which has come down to us as Breton, and Gaelic.’
    • ‘Around the periphery of the kingdom, the spoken languages included German, Italian, Dutch, and Breton.’
    • ‘The author was a French citizen, resident in Brittany who wished to conduct the trial in Breton.’
    • ‘Further west still, the peasantry spoke Breton, not French, and dressed in a distinctive local costume.’


  • 1Relating to Brittany or its people or language.

    • ‘She is brought coral and pearls by a young lady whose dark skin distracts from her own Breton complexion.’
    • ‘Jean-Claude, our Breton steward, is a former submariner, merchant seaman and hotelier.’
    • ‘The band draws on Balkan repertoire but adds a few Breton tunes.’
    • ‘He had a Breton thing, in that he burns friend and foe alike.’
    • ‘In high season the Breton coast is the most popular in France after the Cote d' Azur.’
    • ‘This evening there was a little piece on some rock sculptures on the Breton coast at Rothéneuf.’
    • ‘The Breton nobility were often as poor as the peasants around them.’
    • ‘We were too late for lunch, but the Breton chef rewarded us with glasses of ice-cold white wine.’
    • ‘They shrouded the case in a Breton flag and conducted interviews on the museum steps with representatives of the press.’
    • ‘The landlord speaks fluent French and right next door is a Breton seafood restaurant.’
    • ‘Urged one Breton agitator, ‘Since there's no more king there are no more laws…’.’
    • ‘You know every Breton house has its ghost-story; and some of them are rather unpleasant.’
    • ‘His early paintings had generally featured Breton peasants, but from about 1900 he concentrated on religious subjects.’
    • ‘Probably of Breton origin, Geoffrey was raised in Wales.’
    • ‘A loose grouping of artists worked for shorter or longer periods in this picturesque Breton town.’
    • ‘Many foodstuffs are packed for transit, so you can dine on Breton bisque or rhumbaba desserts later in the year if you fancy.’
    • ‘It is more common on the Atlantic coast of France, and there are interesting Breton recipes for preparing it.’
    • ‘A young Breton knight marries the beautiful girl in the opening of the tale.’
    • ‘The captain of these defenders was a young Breton prince named Roland.’
    • ‘Yet they undoubtedly were, though indubitably English, French, Breton, Lancastrian or whatever first.’
  • 2Denoting a casual striped top, typically white with narrow horizontal blue stripes, of a type loosely associated with French or Breton sailors.

    ‘just pull on a classic Breton t-shirt’
    • ‘I remember looking at Sophie's Breton top and her chic white pedal pushers and thinking: what a pretty girl.’
    • ‘The stripy Breton top has become as ubiquitous as a Game of Thrones billboard this summer.’
    • ‘In And God Created Woman, Bardot teamed a pair of red Repetto ballet pumps with cropped trousers and a Breton top.’
    • ‘Blocks of primary colours catch the eye for men, with bright denims, chinos and that perennial spring favourite, the Breton T-shirt, all present.’
    • ‘In his tight Breton shirt and cap he could be straight off the catwalk.’
    • ‘Mrs Cameron's only concession to her usual relaxed informality was a striped Breton shirt.’
    • ‘Jean Paul has been wearing a kilt matched with a Breton T-shirt for about 95 years, and when somebody shows that much commitment, you've got to admire him.’
    • ‘I give Ronan a large postcard with a map of Great Britain; he gives me a Breton T-shirt.’
    • ‘Like many before us we find ourselves buying a child's Breton top, though we stopped short of the his and hers and baby one to match.’
    • ‘Despite the Breton T-shirt being established as an all-year classic, it can prove darned tricky to get hold of the right stripe in high summer.’
    • ‘It was hard to distinguish Gaultier from the scenery as he bounded into the site on Wednesday, clad in a Breton T-shirt.’
    • ‘Key looks expected to make an appearance on the runway include bold print dresses, the classic black leather jacket, striped Breton T-shirts and lots of frills, ruffles and sequins.’
    • ‘From classic Breton tees to candy colours, stripes sauntered down the spring/summer runways at the likes of Daks, Mulberry and Fendi.’
    • ‘Kate Moss selected a naval-inspired Chanel jacket to smarten her Breton tee.’
    • ‘The jewel in this basic springtime wardrobe is our lovely Breton tee.’
    • ‘If you've been stuck in skinny jeans and a Breton shirt for a while, these new shapes may take some getting used to.’
    • ‘Later adopted by Marilyn Monroe, Brigitte Bardot, Andy Warhol and Audrey Hepburn, the Breton shirt became an icon.’
    • ‘Nautical but not preppy, a simple Breton shirt is endlessly versatile.’
    • ‘When we meet at the show's studio in Shoreditch, Wilson is immaculately turned out in a Breton top and jeans.’
    • ‘The women who work in the cosmetics and fragrance hall on the first floor wear stripy Breton tops, cropped black trousers and ankle-strap heels.’


From Old French, ‘Briton’.