a. Either of two milk-secreting, glandular organs on the chest of a woman; the female mammary gland.
b. A corresponding rudimentary gland in a human male, especially when enlarged by exposure to estrogen or appearing to be enlarged by overlying body fat.
a. The superior ventral surface of the human body, extending from the neck to the abdomen.
b. A corresponding part in other animals.
c. A cut of meat taken from this part of an animal, especially from poultry.
d. The part of a garment that covers the chest.
e. The seat of affection and emotion: "Griefs of mine own lie heavy in my breast" (Shakespeare).
3. Something likened to the human breast, as in being in round or broad: the breast of a hill; the breast of the sea.
4. The face of a mine or tunnel.
5. Sports Breaststroke.
tr.v. breast·ed, breast·ing, breasts
1. To go to the top of; ascend: "He breasted a rise and looked down. He was at the head of a small valley" (Ken Follett).
2. To move forward or advance through or across: breasted the current; breasted the crowd.
3. To confront or deal with resolutely: breasted a storm of criticism.
[Middle English brest, from Old English brēost.]
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.