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What Are The Differences Between “Breach” And “Breech?”

Once again, we will discuss the common case of English homophones confusing writers. The words “breach” and “breech” are on today’s list of some of the most confusing homophones. These words are so often confused that many people may even accidentally switch up their definitions with each other. 

One reason why knowing the difference between these words is that they have vastly different meanings. In other words, if you accidentally mix them up, you will entirely change what you are saying in a sentence. 

Without further ado, let’s break down what each of these terms means and when you should use them! 

What Is The Definition Of “Breech?” 

Breech” is a term that refers to the lower part of something, usually an animal. When referring to inanimate objects, it is commonly referred to as the lower part of a gun that holds ammunition. 

You may have also seen this term used when fetuses are born with their feet coming first. Lastly, “breeches” are what a pirate’s pants are called. When broken down into Germanic root words, “breeches” means “leg coverings.” 

What Is The Definition Of “Breach?”

Breach” refers to the process or result of breaking something. In other terms, it can also refer to a rift, break, or fissure when applied as a noun. In terms of being a verb, “breach” can also mean “to make an opening” or “to break a legal contract.” 

One popular example of this word is found within the animal kingdom. When a whale leaps out of the water, it is said that the whale is “breaching.” This definition makes sense because when “breach” is broken down into its origin word roots, the old definition was “to break.” 

How Can You Use “Breach” And “Breech?” 

One important distinction in terms of utilization of these words is that “breach” is usually used metaphorically, while “breech” is used literally/physically. The “breaching” of a contract is non-physical, while a “breeching” birth is. 

“Breach” should mainly be used to describe when a contract is broken or when a whale breaks the surface of the water. On the other hand, “breech” should be used to describe the lower part of things.

Even though these words are homophones, they have vastly different meanings. This makes it especially important that you know the differences between them. One last tip is that “breach” is much more commonly used than “breech.” So if you are not sure which one to use, chances are “breach” is correct! 

Related: Now read our other articles on similar words and homophones.

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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