A breach is a violation of a law, duty, or promise. If you'd contracted to mow your neighbor's lawn and don't do it, he can sue you for breach of contract. Or he can mow the lawn himself.

Breach traces back to the Old English verb: brecan, "to break," which is what breach really means — "a breaking of something." Breach of contract is a legal way of saying you broke a promise. If your great aunt Edna is a stickler for propriety, she may be horrified when you eat your meat with the salad fork, considering it a breach of good manners.

Definitions of breach
  1. noun
    an opening (especially a gap in a dike or fortification)
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    type of:
    gap, opening
    an open or empty space in or between things
  2. noun
    a personal or social separation (as between opposing factions)
    synonyms: break, falling out, rift, rupture, severance
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    the formal separation of a church into two churches or the withdrawal of one group over doctrinal differences
    type of:
    breakup, detachment, separation
    coming apart
  3. verb
    make an opening or gap in
    synonyms: gap
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    type of:
    open, open up
    cause to open or to become open
  4. noun
    a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
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    breach of contract
    a breach of a legal duty; failure to do something that is required in a contract
    breach of duty
    a breach of due care
    anticipatory breach, constructive breach
    a breach of contract committed prior to the time of required performance
    breach of the covenant of warranty
    a failure of the seller's guarantee of good title
    breach of promise
    failure to keep a promise (of marriage)
    breach of trust
    violation (either through fraud or negligence) by a trustee of a duty that equity requires of him
    breach of warranty
    a breach that occurs when an item is deficient according to the terms of a warranty
    material breach
    a breach serious enough to destroy the value of the contract and to give a basis for an action for breach of contract
    partial breach
    a breach that does not destroy the value of the contract but can give rise to a claim for damages
    type of:
    an unexpected omission
  5. verb
    act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
    synonyms: break, go against, infract, offend, transgress, violate
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    keep, observe
    conform one's action or practice to
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    sin, transgress, trespass
    commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law
    blunder, boob, drop the ball, goof, sin
    commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake
    conflict, contravene, infringe, run afoul
    go against, as of rules and laws
    break the law
    intrude, trespass
    enter unlawfully on someone's property
    yield to temptation or sin
    break, break in
    enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act
    type of:
    show a lack of respect for
Commonly confused words

breach / breech

If you break a contract, it's a breach. If you're talking about pantaloons or feet-first babies, use breech with a double "e."

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