1. The lower rear portion of the human trunk; the buttocks.
a. A breech presentation or delivery.
b. A fetus in breech presentation.
a. Knee breeches.
b. Informal Pants.
c. Tight-fitting pants for horseback riding, often including a wide layer of coarse material such as leather centered along the inseam to provide improved grip.
4. The part of a firearm behind the barrel.
5. The lower part of a pulley block.
[Middle English brech, from Old English brēc, pl. of brōc, leg covering, Gaulish brāca, hose, trousers.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.