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 And that’s really been a lot of his success is clearing enough room inside and pitching in there just enough to give him his bread and butter which is away. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 May 2021 My husband won't return to a restaurant that doesn't serve bread and butter with the meal! Washington Post, 19 Apr. 2021 Fire starters are any bushcrafter’s bread and butter. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, 23 Mar. 2021 And yet, from pioneering the monochromatic dinner (and later ticketing the evenings as events), to unofficially trademarking the cruditable, experiential food naturally became her bread and butter over time. Nora Deligter, Vogue, 17 May 2021 Originals are obviously Netflix’s bread and butter, so plenty of subscribers like to focus on that content. Zach Epstein, BGR, 2 Apr. 2021 Business traffic, the bread and butter for airline revenues, has not returned, Mann said. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 27 Feb. 2021 His bread and butter is year-round heirloom tomatoes grown in a vertical system inside greenhouses. Chuck Blount, Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 1 Mar. 2021 But in terms of politics, its bread and butter is driving the kind of outrage stories that the right has seized on during Biden’s first 100 days. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 27 Apr. 2021

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


1770, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for bread-and-butter

Time Traveler

The first known use of bread-and-butter was in 1770

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Cite this Entry

“Bread-and-butter.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for bread-and-butter



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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