Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An opening, a tear, or a rupture.
  • n. A gap or rift, especially in or as if in a solid structure such as a dike or fortification.
  • n. A violation or infraction, as of a law, a legal obligation, or a promise.
  • n. A breaking up or disruption of friendly relations; an estrangement.
  • n. A leap of a whale from the water.
  • n. The breaking of waves or surf.
  • transitive v. To make a hole or gap in; break through.
  • transitive v. To break or violate (an agreement, for example).
  • intransitive v. To leap from the water: waiting for the whale to breach.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.
  • n. A breaking or infraction of a law, or of any obligation or tie; violation; non-fulfillment; as, a breach of contract; a breach of promise.
  • n. A gap or opening made by breaking or battering, as in a wall, fortification or levee; the space between the parts of a solid body rent by violence; a break; a rupture; a fissure.
  • n. A breaking up of amicable relations, a falling-out.
  • n. A breaking of waters, as over a vessel or a coastal defence; the waters themselves; surge; surf.
  • n. A breaking out upon; an assault.
  • n. A bruise; a wound.
  • n. A hernia; a rupture.
  • v. To make a breach in.
  • v. To violate or break.
  • v. , to break into a ship or into a coastal defence
  • v. (of a whale) to leap clear out of the water

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.
  • n. Specifically: A breaking or infraction of a law, or of any obligation or tie; violation; non-fulfillment.
  • n. A gap or opening made made by breaking or battering, as in a wall or fortification; the space between the parts of a solid body rent by violence; a break; a rupture.
  • n. A breaking of waters, as over a vessel; the waters themselves; surge; surf.
  • n. A breaking up of amicable relations; rupture.
  • n. A bruise; a wound.
  • n. A hernia; a rupture.
  • n. A breaking out upon; an assault.
  • intransitive v. To break the water, as by leaping out; -- said of a whale.
  • transitive v. To make a breach or opening in.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make a breach or opening in.
  • To spring from the water, as a whale.
  • n. The act of breaking: now used only figuratively of the violation or neglect of a law, contract, or any other obligation, or of a custom.
  • n. An opening made by breaking down a portion of a solid body, as a wall, a dike, or a river-bank; a rupture; a break; a gap.
  • n. A break or interruption in utterance.
  • n. A rupture of friendly relations; difference; quarrel.
  • n. Infraction; violation; infringement: as, a breach of the peace, of a promise, or of a contract.
  • n. Injury; would; bruise.
  • n. The breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an opening (especially a gap in a dike or fortification)
  • n. a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
  • v. make an opening or gap in
  • n. a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
  • v. act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises

Etymologies

Middle English breche, from Old English brēc; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English breche, from Old English briċe, bryċe ("breach, fracture, breaking, infringement; fragment"), from Proto-Germanic *brukiz (“breach, fissure”), from Proto-Germanic *brukōnan, *brekanan (“to break”). Cognate with Scots breach, breiche, bretch, breack ("breach"), Saterland Frisian breeke ("breach, break"), Dutch breuk ("breach"), German Bruch ("breach"). More at break. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • It suggests a much more active decision to end the treaty and is much closer to the term breach than the term withdraw.

    The Right Word in the Right Place at the Right Time

  • A heroic U.S. district judge, Jed Rakoff, refused to rubber-stamp the deal, which he called a breach of 'justice and morality' that 'suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties.'

    Janet Tavakoli: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur Confronts MF Global and Wall Street

  • CAIRO — Egypt said Saturday it will withdraw its ambassador from Israel to protest the deaths of Egyptian security forces in what it called a breach of the 1979 peace treaty between the two countries, sharply escalating tensions after a cross-border ambush that killed eight Israelis.

    Egypt To Withdraw Ambassador To Israel Over Ambush

  • Miles Miller, Alfred Gough & Tollin/Robbins Productions are suing Warner Brothers TV for what they call a breach of contract and fiduciary duty regarding how WB TV handled their financial responsibilities regarding Smallville.

    Original SMALLVILLE Creators Are Suing WB

  • Instead of rubber-stamping the BofA/SEC settlement as everybody expected, Judge Rakoff refused to sign off on the deal, which he called a breach of "justice and morality" that "suggests a rather cynical relationship between the parties."

    Arianna Huffington: Why It's Wrong When Wrongdoers Are Allowed to Admit No Wrongdoing

  • I just spoke to a House Democratic leadership aide this morning who said they have to deal with what they call the breach of decorum or they said that silence shows that they think it's OK.

    CNN Transcript Sep 13, 2009

  • What happens when a levee gets overtop for a period of time, then what normally would happen is what we call a breach, and that is a hole in the levee begins to appear because there's scouring and other things.

    CNN Transcript Jun 18, 2008

  • That is what you call a breach of fiduciary duty or, in technical terms, "a rip-off."

    City Hall's Welfare For The Rich: A Case Study

  • But task team chairman Andre Bartlett said on Tuesday he had given notice of his intention to resign over what he described as a breach of faith.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Had that happened, the only way we could have equalized the water would be to what we call a breach or take out sections of the levee, so that in fact it could drain back to the lake levels.

    CNN Transcript Aug 29, 2005

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Comments

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  • "Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more, or fill the wall up with our English dead." ~ Henry V

    December 15, 2006