Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A bifurcated garment worn by men, covering the body from the waist to the knees, or, in some cases, only to mid-thigh.
  • Less properly, trousers or pantaloons.
  • Synonyms See trousers.

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

  • noun plural A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs; smallclothes.
  • noun plural colloq. Trousers; pantaloons.
  • noun plural in the life-saving service, a pair of canvas breeches depending from an annular or beltlike life buoy which is usually of cork. This contrivance, inclosing the person to be rescued, is hung by short ropes from a block which runs upon the hawser stretched from the ship to the shore, and is drawn to land by hauling lines.
  • noun plural a forked pipe forming two branches united at one end.
  • noun plural breeches coming to the knee, and buckled or fastened there; smallclothes.
  • noun plural [Colloq.] to usurp the authority of the husband; -- said of a wife.

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

  • noun Plural form of breech.
  • noun A garment worn by men, covering the hips and thighs; smallclothes.
  • noun informal Trousers; pantaloons; britches.

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

  • noun trousers ending above the knee

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Middle English brech, brek, Old English brēc, plural of brōc ("breech, breeches"); akin to Old Norse brók ("breeches"), Danish brog, Dutch broek, German Bruch f.; compare Latin bracae ( > French braies) which is of Celtic origin. Compare brail.

Examples

  • And bagged in breeches, clinging round his side, —

    The Age Reviewed

  • My favourite episode consisted of Bill Odie dressed in breeches and a flat cap wielding a black pudding ... well just hitting people with the black pudding in a demonstration of the ancient martial art of 'ecky thumph'.

    If You Only Knew the Power of the Dumb Side....

  • Walking over it immediately conjures up images of Greg Wise in breeches; enough to keep me smiling for the rest of the day.

    The concrete jungle's really going crazy

  • He was dressed for riding, with buff coat and buckskin breeches, and shining top boots.

    The Black Moth: A Romance of the XVIII Century

  • Khaki was the rule, the women mostly in breeches and long coats, with high-laced shoes reaching to the knee and soft felt hats, the men in riding-clothes, with sombreros and brilliant bandannas knotted about their throats.

    Through Glacier Park: Seeing America First with Howard Eaton

  • He was hatless; his Crimean shirt was torn into ribbons; his moleskin breeches were covered with blood and dirt; the strap belt, with its sheath-knife and various pouches, was gone, and this, judging from the state of his legs and feet, had been forcibly removed.

    Lady Bridget in the Never-Never Land

  • The servants, powdered and in short breeches as usual, served us in their customary solemnity; but they must have wondered why we preferred to sit on the gravel, with a draught of cold air on our backs, when we might have been comfortably seated in a big and airy room with a carpet under our feet.

    In the Courts of Memory, 1858 1875; from Contemporary Letters

  • She had walked up with a Mr. Crowe, from Peterborough, a young, brisk-looking farmer, in breeches and top-boots, just out from the old country, who, naturally enough, thought he would like to roost among the woods.

    Roughing It in the Bush

  • There are things we do and know perfectly well in Vanity Fair, though we never speak of them: as the Ahrimanians worship the devil, but don't mention him: and a polite public will no more bear to read an authentic description of vice than a truly refined English or American female will permit the word breeches to be pronounced in her chaste hearing.

    Vanity Fair

  • a polite public will no more bear to read an authentic description of vice than a truly refined English or American female will permit the word breeches to be pronounced in her chaste hearing.

    Vanity Fair

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Captured at Yorktown: 126 "woolen breeches," another set of 241 breeches, and the next day, taken from the British "Deputy-Quarter-Master" and "adjudged to be forfeited," 25 "woolen breeches."

    October 29, 2007