breach Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
  2. noun an opening (especially a gap in a dike or fortification)
  3. noun a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
    rift; severance; falling out; break; rupture.
    • they hoped to avoid a break in relations
  4. verb act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    go against; infract; violate; break; offend; transgress.
    • offend all laws of humanity
    • violate the basic laws or human civilization
    • break a law
    • break a promise
  5. verb make an opening or gap in


Breach noun
OE. breke, breche, AS. brice, gebrice, gebrece (in comp.), fr. brecan to break; akin to Dan. bræk, MHG. breche, gap, breach. See Break, and cf. Brake (the instrument), Brack a break
  1. The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.
  2. Specifically: 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.
  3. 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.
    Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. Shak.
  4. A breaking of waters, as over a vessel; the waters themselves; surge; surf.
    The Lord hath broken forth upon mine enemies before me, as the breach of waters. 2 Sam. v. 20
    Ham. Nav. Encyc.
  5. A breaking up of amicable relations; rupture.
    There's fallen between him and my lord An unkind breach. Shak.
  6. A bruise; a wound.
    Breach for breach, eye for eye. Lev. xxiv. 20
  7. (Med.) A hernia; a rupture.
  8. A breaking out upon; an assault.
    The Lord had made a breach upon Uzza. 1. Chron. xiii. 11
    Mozley. Abbott. Syn. -- Rent; cleft; chasm; rift; aperture; gap; break; disruption; fracture; rupture; infraction; infringement; violation; quarrel; dispute; contention; difference; misunderstanding.
Breach transitive verb
imperfect & past participle Breached ; present participle & verbal noun Breaching
  1. To make a breach or opening in; as, to breach the walls of a city.
Breach intransitive verb
  1. To break the water, as by leaping out; -- said of a whale.

Webster 1913