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Definition rear

Most commonly used today in the phrase breech birth in reference to a baby who comes out of the birth canal butt-first rather than head-first.

More-archaic senses seen in classic literature include:
  • breechcloth — a form of loincloth consisting in a strip of material passed between the thighs and held up in front and behind by a belt or string
  • breeches — pants
  • a cannon's breech — the rear of a gun

A breech birth refers to a child born bottom first. A less common sense of breech refers to the lower part of a pulley block.
  • It was a difficult breech birth.
breech = rear (in this case indicating that the baby came out of the birth canal butt-first)
  • The rocket is breech-loaded and a two-person team can fire it six times a minute.
  • breech = rear
  • A man in a leather coat and breeches led a cow along the road.
    Elizabeth George Speare  --  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • breeches = pants
  • I could not possibly hope to be a lady if I wore breeches; when I said I could do nothing in a dress, she said I wasn't supposed to be doing things that required pants.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • breeches = pants
  • "I'm the breech-piece mule of number two gun of the First Screw Battery," said the mule,
    Rudyard Kipling  --  The Jungle Book
  • breech = opening in the rear of the barrel of a cannon where munitions can be loaded
  • Kropp stalks up, with his breeches rolled up and his feet bare.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • breeches = pants
  • In the far corner of the square the Negroes and Mr. Dolphus Raymond stood up and dusted their breeches.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • breeches = pants
  • When I went back for my breeches— they were all in a tangle when I was gettin' out of 'em, I couldn't get 'em loose.
    Harper Lee  --  To Kill a Mockingbird
  • breeches = pants
  • "Then you might have a thought for somebody else!" snapped Nat, slapping the water out of his dripping breeches.
    Elizabeth George Speare  --  The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • breeches = pants
  • The black, worn breeches are just as much too short; they reach barely halfway down his calf.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • They are big and clumsy, the breeches are tucked into them, and standing up one looks well-built and powerful in these great drainpipes.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • It was a wonderful picture: Himmelstoss on the ground; Haie bending over him with a fiendish grin and his mouth open with bloodlust, Himmelstoss's head on his knees; then the convulsed striped drawers, the knock knees, executing at every blow most original movements in the lowered breeches, and towering over them like a woodcutter the indefatigable Tjaden.
    Erich Maria Remarque  --  All Quiet on the Western Front
  • I stopped, and, picking a cartridge from my pocket, I opened the breech of my gun.
    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle  --  The Lost World
  • You dragon, you make me laugh till I shake me and burst the stitches of my breeches.
    Hermann Hesse  --  Steppenwolf
  • He got hold of his belt and managed to get his breeches back on.
    Cormac McCarthy  --  All the Pretty Horses
  • At your age a rod to your breech were fitter than a sword in your fist, ha!
    C.S. Lewis  --  The Horse and His Boy
  • Then lo! from the other direction came riding the stout chief, in the fur cap and the riding breeches, surrounded by his counsellors.
    Alan Paton  --  Cry, the Beloved Country
  • When he emerged, dripping, into the lighted room, he found a towel, a fine linen shirt, and a pair of breeches.
    Christopher Paolini  --  Eragon
  • He was oiling the breech action of a gun.
    Ford Madox Ford  --  The Good Soldier
  • Dick snapped the cartridge breech open savagely, then hurled the gun away.
    Thomas Wolfe  --  The Child by Tiger

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