1. the act or a result of breaking; break or rupture.
  2. an infraction or violation, as of a law, trust, faith, or promise.
  3. a gap made in a wall, fortification, line of soldiers, etc.; rift; fissure.
  4. a severance of friendly relations.
  5. the leap of a whale above the surface of the water.
  6. Archaic. the breaking of waves; the dashing of surf.
  7. Obsolete. wound1.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make a breach or opening in.
  2. to break or act contrary to (a law, promise, etc.).

verb (used without object)

  1. (of a whale) to leap partly or completely out of the water, head first, and land on the back or belly with a resounding splash.


  1. a crack, break, or rupture
  2. a breaking, infringement, or violation of a promise, obligation, etc
  3. any severance or separationthere was a breach between the two factions of the party
  4. a gap in an enemy’s fortifications or line of defence created by bombardment or attack
  5. the act of a whale in breaking clear of the water
  6. the breaking of sea waves on a shore or rock
  7. an obsolete word for wound 1


  1. (tr) to break through or make an opening, hole, or incursion in
  2. (tr) to break a promise, law, etc
  3. (intr) (of a whale) to break clear of the water

n.Old English bryce “breach, fracture, a breaking,” from brecan (see break), influenced by Old French breche “breach, opening, gap,” from Frankish; both from Proto-Germanic *brecho, *bræko “broken,” from PIE root *bhreg- “to break” (see fraction). Figurative sense of “a breaking of rules, etc.” was in Old English Breach of contract is at least from 1660s. v.1570s, from breach (n.). Related: Breached; breaching.

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