from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The metal part that closes the breech end of the barrel of a breechloading gun and that is removed to insert a cartridge and replaced before firing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A movable piece at the breech of a breech-loading gun, which is withdrawn for the insertion of a cartridge and closed before firing, to receive the impact of the recoil. E. H.Knight. See cut under breech-loader.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The movable piece which closes the breech of a breech-loading firearm, and resists the backward force of the discharge. It is withdrawn for the insertion of a cartridge, and closed again before the gun is fired.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The metal block that closes the breech of a breech-loading gun after insertion of the cartridge

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a metal block in breech-loading firearms that is withdrawn to insert a cartridge and replaced to close the breech before firing


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • We get to figure out how many of you can tell a breechblock from a breach cloth.

    David E.

  • That way, because # .22 caliber long rifle cartridge is rim-fire ignited, the plunger, when released by the trigger, would both fire the piece and act as a breechblock.


  • Brad noted that Rimov was staring at the intensity slide visible on the breechblock of his sheathed weapon.

    The Universe — or Nothing

  • First he transferred Eddie's ammunition to his own person, and such valuables and trinkets as he thought "maw" might be glad to have, then he removed the breechblock from

    The Mucker

  • In the bore, pent in by the polished breechblock, is a cartridge which has failed in its duty.

    A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee"

  • One is hastily procured, and the first captain -- a great, brawny, good-natured fellow, who has spent years at sea -- deftly fastens the bight of the rope to the handle of the breechblock.

    A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee"

  • Captain Brownson had noticed the incident and he sent word to delay opening the breechblock until all danger of explosion had passed.

    A Gunner Aboard the "Yankee"

  • There was no speck of rust in the unused muzzle, no hitch in the easily sliding mechanism of the breechblock.

    The Call of the Cumberlands

  • I counted eleven able seamen polishing the breechblock of the stern nine-point-two, four marines zealously relieving each other at the life-buoy, six call-boys, nine midshipmen of the watch, exclusive of naval cadets, and the higher ranks past all census.

    Traffics and Discoveries


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