Step into the breach

Photo of author


Step into the breach is an idiom that has been in use for over a hundred years. We will examine the meaning of the idiom in step into the breach, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

To step into the breach means to take up a task that has been abandoned by another, to take on a vital responsibility when others have not. The idiom step into the breach originated in the military. A breach is a gap in a wall or a gap in a line of defense through which the enemy may enter. The idea is that the person who steps into the breach puts himself between the item he is defending and disaster. Related phrases are steps into the breach, stepped into the breach, stepping into the breach. The expression step into the breach seems to have come into use in the 1800s, though a similar phrase is found in William Shakespeare’s Henry V: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead.” The phrase once more unto the breach means let us try again.


“As Catholic men and as Knights of Columbus, it is our duty to ‘step into the breach’ and play our part in the renewal of our families and the Church,” Anderson added. (The Catholic News Agency)

Now, the rest of us — Republicans, Democrats, independents, officeholders, civil servants, the media and ordinary voters — must step into the breach. (The Washington Post)

With White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany testing positive yesterday and resting up, Trump 2020 press communications director Erin Perrine stepped into the breach yesterday and made a very stupid argument indeed for why the Covid-denier-in-chief now has an advantage over his Democratic rival. (The Independent)