Breech vs. Breach – How to Use Each Correctly
What is the Difference Between Breech and Breach?
Breech and breach are homophones, which means their pronunciations are identical, yet their spellings and meanings are different.
Breech is a noun that refers to a person’s bottom, or the bottom part of an object.
- Breech pregnancies have the potential to be dangerous because the baby’s bottom is positioned to exit the birth canal first.
Breach can be either a noun or a verb that refers to breaking something, such as breaking through a line of defense, or breaking a law.
- The enemy soldiers have breached the wall.
Now, let’s go over the specific ways each of these words are used.
Using Breech in a Sentence
When to use breech: Breech acts a noun that refers to the lower part of something, or a person’s buttocks.
- He put his hand on the breech of the gun.
- The fetus is presenting as breech.
There are several common collocations that use breech:
- breech delivery: a baby that the mother gives birth to bottom first, rather than head first
- Some breech deliveries can result in injury to the newborn.
- breech presentation: a fetus with it’s bottom half closest to the cervix
- Doctors give pregnant women advice on how to encourage a fetus to move out of breech presentation.
- breech birth: a baby that the mother delivers bottom first instead of head first
- Breech births are more dangerous than births in which the baby emerges head first.
As evident from the examples above, breech most commonly appears in the context of the medical field, specifically with pregnancy and delivery.
Using Breach in a Sentence
When to use breach: Breach acts as a noun or a verb related to breaking something.
This can be breaking through a fortification, a whale breaking the surface of the ocean while jumping, or breaking something abstract like a law or someone’s trust.
- The tourists on the whale watch tour gasped in amazement as the whale breached. (verb)
- The army marched towards the castle intent on breaching the walls. (verb)
- This breach of trust cannot be forgiven. (noun)
- You should always allow guests to use your bathroom. Not doing so is a breach of etiquette. (noun)
There are also a few idioms using breach, some of which are below:
- breach of decorum: doing something impolite
- It is a breach of decorum to wear the same color dress as the bride at her wedding.
- breach of etiquette: doing something rude
- It is a breach of etiquette to never write thank you notes for gifts received.
- breach of promise: to break a promise
- It was a breach of promise when you told me you would clean the entire house, and then slept all day instead.
As you can see from the examples, breach appears most often in reference to breaking the rules of polite behavior, or in a military context.
Remembering Breech vs. Breach
The easiest way to remember the difference between breech and break is to look at the spelling of each word.
Breech has double letters in the middle of the word, ee. The word bottom also has a pair of the same letter in the middle, tt. The fact that breech and bottom have a similar meaning and both contain repeated letters can help you remember the connection between the two words.
Likewise, breach starts with the letters brea, which shows the direct relationship to the word break.
- The experts agreed that the government should not have a role in policing free speech on campuses or deliberating what is considered to be a breech of free speech — though disagreed on who should. –USA Today
- But when the first twin was in the breech position (rather than emerging headfirst), Sorensen did not call the nearby hospital, according to testimony, and it wasn’t until the baby had been delivered and was blue that someone at the birthing center called 911. –Washington Post
- Plastic Surgery Associates of South Dakota has announced a data breach that might have left some patient records open to hackers. –Houston Chronicle
- The hackers claimed it took them about 6 months to breach HBO’s network. Their biggest threat appears to be dumping videos of future shows online with their logo “HBO Is Falling” superimposed. –Denver Post
Quiz: Breach or Breech
Instructions: Fill in the blank with the correct word, either breach or breech, in the correct form.
- It is very rare to see a blue whale _________________.
- If the baby presents as ________________ she will need to have a C-section.
- The best military leaders know how to ____________ the defenses of their enemies.
- He held onto the ________________ of his gun.
Should I use breech or breach? Despite the identical pronunciation of these two words, there is no overlap in meaning between them.
- Breech refers to the bottom position and mostly appears in the context of fetuses upside down within the womb.
- Breach is similar to the word break and mostly is used to talk about breaking etiquette rules or breaking through fortifications.
Be careful not to mix up these two words.