breast

Definitions

General English

Agriculture

  • noun the front part of the body of a bird
  • noun the lower part of the body of a sheep, similar to the belly on a pig

Construction

  • The part of a wall that extends from the window stool to the floor level.
  • A projecting part of a wall, such as at a chimney.

Food

  • noun meat from the chest part of a bird or animal

Medical

  • noun one of two glands in a woman which secrete milk.

Origin & History of “breast”

Breast can be traced back via prehistoric Germanic *breustam to an Indo-European base *bhrus- or *bhreus-, whose other descendants, including Old Saxon brustian ‘bud’, middle high German briustern ‘swell’, and Irish brú ‘abdomen, womb’, suggest that the underlying reference contained in the word may be to the growth and swelling of the female breasts. By the time it reached Old English, as brēost, it had already developed a more general, non-sex-specific sense ‘chest’, but the meaning element ‘mammary gland’ has remained throughout, and indeed over the past two hundred years ‘chest’ has grown steadily more archaic.
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