Definition of breech in English:

breech

noun

  • 1The part of a cannon behind the bore.

    • ‘He came out of his roll into a kneeling position and loaded a fresh shot into the breech.’
    • ‘The British reloaded their weapons, filling the breech with powder and using their rods to push in the balls.’
    • ‘Each shell ejecting from the breech, followed by another and another.’
    • ‘The 155 mm main gun is equipped with a screw type breech and an electrical trigger mechanism.’
    1. 1.1 The back part of a rifle or gun barrel:
      ‘the 47-round ammunition drum fits over the breech’
      • ‘Carpenter slid fresh shells into the breech of the gun and closed it with a well-oiled snick.’
      • ‘This is a device located on and in the breech of a howitzer.’
      • ‘All he held was the barrel and part of the breech.’
      • ‘Problems were overcome by innovations such as the brass cartridge case and the device which sealed the breech.’
      • ‘René rose and picked up the rifle, checking the breech in the firelight to make sure it was loaded.’
      • ‘I looked at my pistol, the breech popped open, he looked at his shotgun.’
  • 2archaic A person's buttocks.

    • ‘A seaman fell from a height of about seventy feet; he fell on his breech.’
    • ‘The punishment of the men is to be laid on a bench and slapped on the breech with a pair of boots.’
    buttocks, behind, backside, rear, rear end, seat, haunches, cheeks
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]archaic
  • Dress (a boy) in breeches after he has been in petticoats since birth:

    ‘in those days it wasn't customary to breech a boy until he was about four’
    • ‘Young boys wore skirts with doublets or back-fastening bodices until they were breeched at six to eight.’
    • ‘In those days it wasn't customary to breech a boy until he was about four.’

Origin

Old English brēc (plural of brōc, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch broek), interpreted as a singular form. The original sense was ‘garment covering the loins and thighs’(compare with breeches), hence ‘the buttocks’( breech, mid 16th century), later ‘the hind part’ of anything.

Pronunciation:

breech

/briːtʃ/