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 Similarly, creating new user accounts or deleting them out of multiple systems is just the bread and butter of the IT department. Kevin Korte, Forbes, 6 July 2022 He is best known for painting Barack Obama’s presidential portrait, but his bread and butter are immense paintings reimagining Western art traditions through the use of contemporary Black sitters. Vogue, 1 June 2022 After all, she's best known as a movie star, and his bread and butter is TV comedies. Adrianna Freedman, Good Housekeeping, 29 May 2022 Art worked on national campaigns, too, but his bread and butter was in this area. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 Hunter still leads the pack, though brands such as Aigle, Ilse Jacobsen, and Joules have all made the style their bread and butter (luxury labels such as Burberry, Tamara Mellon, and Dior have incorporated them into their core offerings, too). Christian Allaire, Vogue, 23 June 2022 Business travel, airlines’ usual bread and butter, fell off a cliff in 2020, and these companies now see a lifeline in Millennial yuppies. Mac Schwerin, The Atlantic, 29 May 2022 But many shopping malls and office buildings — the bread and butter of the Lerner fortune — were sliding before the pandemic and have suffered significantly as coronavirus shutdowns changed the way people shop and work. Washington Post, 14 Apr. 2022 The aluminum Littoral Combat Ships and Expeditionary Fast Transports that have been the company’s bread and butter are about 420 and 340 feet long, respectively. al, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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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 13 Aug. 2022.

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