Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[bred-n-buht-er] /ˈbrɛd nˈbʌt ər/
providing a livelihood or basic source of income; supplying the basic needs of life:
a bread-and-butter job; the agency's bread-and-butter account.
of or relating to basic needs:
housing and other bread-and-butter political issues.
basic or everyday; staple; routine.
expressing thanks for hospitality:
a bread-and-butter letter.
Origin of bread-and-butter
First recorded in 1720-30; adj. use of noun phrase bread and butter

bread and butter

bread spread with butter.
a basic means of support; source of livelihood; sustenance:
The automobile industry is the bread and butter of many Detroiters.
First recorded in 1620-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for bread-and-butter
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then another slice of bread-and-butter and more gooseberries.

    The Skilful Cook Mary Harrison
  • He crumpled a piece or two of bread-and-butter and spread crumbs on the cloth.

    A Great Man Arnold Bennett
  • It was an excellent tea, with shrimps and bread-and-butter, and cake and jam.

    Sue, A Little Heroine

    L. T. Meade
  • "Oh, I think there will be plenty of bread-and-butter," said the lawyer.

    The Opal Serpent Fergus Hume
  • And he said that kings were nuisances, and didn't earn their bread-and-butter.

    Long Live the King Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • This is no place for kids in the bread-and-butter stage of growth.

    The Girl from Sunset Ranch Amy Bell Marlowe
  • Baby is sitting in the out-house eating a piece of bread-and-butter.

    Child-Land Oscar Pletsch
British Dictionary definitions for bread-and-butter

bread and butter

(modifier) a means of support or subsistence; livelihood: the inheritance was their bread and butter
  1. providing a basic means of subsistence: a bread-and-butter job
  2. solid, reliable, or practical: a bread-and-butter player
  3. expressing gratitude, as for hospitality (esp in the phrase bread-and-butter letter)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for bread-and-butter

bread and butter


: a routine, bread-andbutter type of case

noun phrase

The simple necessities of life; asi needs (mid-1735+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with bread-and-butter

bread and butter

The essential, sustaining element, as in The quality of the schools is the bread and butter of town property values. This idiom alludes to a basic food, bread spread with butter. [ c. 1700 ]
Means of livelihood, as in John's job is the family's bread and butter. [ First half of 1700s ]
Ordinary, routine, as in Don't worry about it; this is just a bread and butter assignment. [ Second half of 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for bread-and-butter

Word Value for bread

Scrabble Words With Friends