Legal Dictionary


Definition of breach



    Middle English breche from Old English bryce ("a breaking, breach, fracture") from brecan "to break".


breach (plural breaches)

  1. The act of breaking, in a figurative sense.

    * 1748. David Hume. Enquiry concerning Human Understanding. Section 3. 12.
    But were the poet to make a total difression from his subject, and introduce a new actor, nowise connected with the personages, the imagination, feeling a breach in transition, would enter coldly into the new scene;

  2. (law) A breaking or infraction of a law, or of any obligation or tie; violation; non-fulfillment; as, a each of contract]]; a breach of promise.
  3. A gap or opening 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.

    * 1599: "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead." - Henry V: Ac.3 Sc1, Wm. Shakespeare.

  4. A breaking up of amicable relations; rupture.
  5. A breaking of waters, as over a vessel or a coastal defence; the waters themselves; surge; surf.

    * 1719: Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
    I cast my eye to the stranded vessel, when, the breach and froth of the sea being so big, I could hardly see it, it lay so far of; and considered, Lord! how was it possible I could get on shore.

  6. A breaking out upon; an assault.
  7. (archaic) A bruise; a wound.
  8. (archaic) A hernia; a rupture.


to breach (third-person singular simple present breaches, present participle breaching, simple past and past participle breached)

  1. (intransitive) To break (in the above senses)
  2. (intransitive) (nautical, of the sea), to break into a ship or into a coastal defence
  3. (intransitive) (of a whale) to leap clear out of the water


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     salacious
2.     prima facie
3.     landed property
4.     lex situs
5.     lex fori
6.     respondent
7.     charge
8.     beyond reasonable doubt
9.     lex causae
10.     entitlement