Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An opening, tear, or rupture.
  • noun A gap or rift, especially in a solid structure such as a dike or fortification.
  • noun A violation or infraction, as of a contract, law, legal obligation, or promise.
  • noun A breaking up or disruption of friendly relations; an estrangement.
  • noun A leap of a whale from the water.
  • noun The breaking of waves or surf.
  • intransitive verb To make a hole or gap in; break through.
  • intransitive verb To break or violate (an agreement, for example).
  • intransitive verb To leap from the water.
  • intransitive verb To develop a hole or opening. Used especially of protective embankments.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To make a breach or opening in.
  • To spring from the water, as a whale.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A break or interruption in utterance.
  • noun A rupture of friendly relations; difference; quarrel.
  • noun Infraction; violation; infringement: as, a breach of the peace, of a promise, or of a contract.
  • noun Injury; would; bruise.
  • noun The breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To make a breach or opening in.
  • intransitive verb To break the water, as by leaping out; -- said of a whale.
  • noun The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.
  • noun Specifically: A breaking or infraction of a law, or of any obligation or tie; violation; non-fulfillment.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A breaking of waters, as over a vessel; the waters themselves; surge; surf.
  • noun implies that the waves roll over the vessel without breaking.
  • noun implies that everything on deck is swept away.
  • noun A breaking up of amicable relations; rupture.
  • noun A bruise; a wound.
  • noun (Med.) A hernia; a rupture.
  • noun A breaking out upon; an assault.
  • noun a breaking, or a failure to keep, an expressed or implied promise; a betrayal of confidence or trust.
  • noun disorderly conduct, disturbing the public peace.
  • noun an act or default in violation of the privilege or either house of Parliament, of Congress, or of a State legislature, as, for instance, by false swearing before a committee.
  • noun violation of one's plighted word, esp. of a promise to marry.
  • noun violation of one's duty or faith in a matter entrusted to one.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.
  • noun law 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun A breaking up of amicable relations, a falling-out.
  • noun A breaking of waters, as over a vessel or a coastal defence; the waters themselves; surge; surf.
  • noun A breaking out upon; an assault.
  • noun archaic A bruise; a wound.
  • noun archaic A hernia; a rupture.
  • verb transitive To make a breach in.
  • verb transitive To violate or break.
  • verb transitive, nautical, of the sea , to break into a ship or into a coastal defence
  • verb intransitive (of a whale) to leap clear out of the water

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

  • noun an opening (especially a gap in a dike or fortification)

Etymologies

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

[Middle English breche, from Old English brēc; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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

  • "While on his parole the offender received one minor breach for breaking his curfew, for less than an hour, and was subject to a 14-day custodial sentence as a result," corrections commissioner Scott McNairn said.

    - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-06-05/darwin-shooting-are-electronic-monitoring-devices-reliable/11182750

    June 5, 2019

  • I suspect this - below - is a somewhat modern nominal use of breach. I don't like it much, but oh well. It appears to be shorthand for 'a penalty for having committed a breach' (of dot-dot-dot).

    June 5, 2019