bread-and-but·​ter | \ ˈbred-ən(d)-ˈbə-tər How to pronounce bread-and-butter (audio) \

Definition of bread-and-butter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : being as basic as the earning of one's livelihood bread-and-butter issues
b(1) : reliable our bread-and-butter repertoire
(2) : dependable as a source of income a company's bread-and-butter products
2 : sent or given as thanks for hospitality a bread-and-butter letter

bread and butter


Definition of bread and butter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a means of sustenance or livelihood

Examples of bread-and-butter in a Sentence

Noun Casual clothing has always been the company's bread and butter.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Decker brought him a bowl of homemade turkey soup, bread and butter. oregonlive, "Homeless man dies overnight as temperatures dropped in Bend," 12 Nov. 2020 According to a summary of the case from Moore’s office, opioids -- both misused prescription drugs and street narcotics -- were the ring’s bread and butter. al, "42 indicted in sweep of Mobile-area opioid ring," 26 Oct. 2020 Having to open up the offense the past few years because of one of the nation’s top quarterback recruits in TJ Finley, who is now starting at LSU, and with inexperienced defenders, Ponchatoula had steered away from its bread and butter. Jim Derry,, "Ponchatoula goes old school on Slidell in 48-14 rout," 31 Oct. 2020 Italian bread and butter, turkey soup or salad, and dessert included. Carol Deptolla, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Thanksgiving 2020: Milwaukee restaurants that will be open or are offering takeout," 29 Oct. 2020 Farmers of traditional row crops such as corn and soy, Indiana’s bread and butter, were hit hardest. Sarah Bowman, The Indianapolis Star, "'Farming is in a funny place politically': Will farmers still vote for Trump after tough four years?," 29 Oct. 2020 Corporate and private banking are Deutsche Bank’s bread and butter and must deliver profits for a successful turnaround. Rochelle Toplensky, WSJ, "A Deutsche Bank Turnaround Needs More Than Trading Success," 28 Oct. 2020 Facials are a spa’s bread and butter, and several owners said that pre-pandemic levels of 10 or more facial bookings per day had dwindled to no more than two to four per day in the opening week. Carolyne Zinko,, "As San Francisco reopens, facials return with a dash of science-fiction precautions," 28 Oct. 2020 Based in Victoria, Australia, Blackmagic Design’s bread and butter is in broadcast and cinema hardware such as high-end, ultra-high resolution camera bodies and multi-input broadcast switchers that can cost north of $10,000. Daniel Bentley, Fortune, "How a funeral inspired the pandemic’s hottest hardware," 18 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'bread-and-butter.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of bread-and-butter


circa 1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1732, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bread-and-butter

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The first known use of bread-and-butter was in 1732

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Cite this Entry

“Bread-and-butter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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How to pronounce bread and butter (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of bread-and-butter

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: basic and important
: dependable as a source of income or success

bread and butter


English Language Learners Definition of bread and butter (Entry 2 of 2)

: a dependable source of income or success

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