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 With Lincoln's bread and butter now being SUVs, the Navi is now firmly the flagship of the line. John Pearley Huffman, Car and Driver, "These Vehicles Are Dead for 2021," 31 July 2020 Playing in the post should remain his bread and butter, but if Ayton can establish a face-up game that consists of two dribbles and finish at the rim, that could force a big to back off, thus leaving him open to launch from deep. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "What experiments Phoenix Suns may try in NBA restart," 10 July 2020 In a food processor, combine 1/2 fresh Serrano chili and 1/4 cup bread and butter pickles. Erin Booke, Dallas News, "5 fan-favorite burger recipes from Texas chefs and more," 3 July 2020 There is a $45 million industry for dairy; that’s our bread and butter. Kristine M. Kierzek, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "American Cheese Society president, and lifetime achievement honoree, grew up loving Wisconsin flavors," 2 July 2020 Few foods are are more difficult in a take-out world than raw fish, but that’s his bread and butter. Washington Post, "‘Adapt or die’ -- Restaurants find ways to evolve amid virus," 18 June 2020 But for a company aiming to disrupt the sleepy insurance industry with machine learning, marketing and sales remains the real bread and butter. Lucinda Shen, Fortune, "Insurtech Lemonade looks for sugar in IPO markets. Its biggest expense? Marketing," 9 June 2020 In-person appointments, the bread and butter of medicine, are a last resort. Marion Renault, Wired, "When Health Care Moves Online, Many Patients Are Left Behind," 8 June 2020 For Amanda Nguyen, owner of Butter& bakery in San Francisco, quarantine cakes have become her bread and butter. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, "From milestone birthdays to baby showers, the creative ways people are celebrating in quarantine," 8 Apr. 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 7 Aug. 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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