Make Your Editor Cry: Breach vs. Breech

Make Your Editor Cry:  Breach vs. Breech

A breach is a break — whether it’s a breach in contract or a breach in a dam. A breach is a violation of a law, duty, or promise. Lawyers like it because they can help if there’s a breach of the law. Whales break free from the water when they breach, but no one wants them to breach the side of a boat.

A breech, double “e,” is an opening at back of the gun. The breech is the opening in a gun where cartridges (or powder and bullets) are loaded. It’s also the word for hindquarters. So, the breech is near the butt of a gun, but it’s also sometimes the buttocks of a human being. in a breech birth, a baby comes out feet, or hindquarters, first. Breeches, or britches, is also the old word for pants. You can still get breeches, though, for horseback riding.

If you break a contract, or whales breaking the surface it’s a breach. If you’re talking about pantaloons, guns, or feet-first babies, use breech with a double “e.”

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