bread·​bas·​ket ˈbred-ˌba-skət How to pronounce breadbasket (audio)
slang : stomach
: a major cereal-producing region

Did you know?

Breadbasket has been used as slang in English since at least the mid-1700s. (It has been used even longer to mean literally a basket for holding bread.) It can refer to the stomach as an actual digestive organ ("his breadbasket rumbled with hunger"), but these days it's more commonly applied to the general stomach area ("rested her hands on her breadbasket"). No one is quite sure of the exact origins of the use, but it’s likely that there’s some connection between the basket used to hold bread and the basket where the bread ends up after a person eats it. Breadbasket has also come to refer to an area that supplies an important amount of grain ("the breadbasket of the country").

Example Sentences

the breadbasket of the world The area is becoming the nation's breadbasket.
Recent Examples on the Web The Maumee River, which flows into Lake Erie, runs through Ohio’s breadbasket. Caitlin Looby, Journal Sentinel, 10 Feb. 2023 War in Ukraine – a major breadbasket thanks to its highly fertile black soil – has the global food system reeling. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 14 June 2022 Blockaded ports in Ukraine have impeded exports of up to 25 million tons of grain from the key European breadbasket. Jamey Keaten, ajc, 12 June 2022 Coastal cities, agricultural breadbasket regions and water supplies for many communities all will be radically different if this planet returns to a Pliocene CO2 world. Julie Brigham-grette And Steve Petsch, Discover Magazine, 30 Sep. 2020 In the San Joaquin Valley, an area in central California known as the breadbasket of the world, people have long bolstered the water supply by pumping from underground basins. Evelyn Taft, CBS News, 12 Jan. 2023 Score fresh fruit and local arts & crafts at the Black River market which features the produce of St. Elizabeth, known as the breadbasket of the island. Ruth C. White, Condé Nast Traveler, 10 Jan. 2023 Baidoa, once known as the breadbasket of Somalia, has a decades-old association with famine. Declan Walsh Andrea Bruce, New York Times, 21 Nov. 2022 Known as the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Yellow River Basin is a key breadbasket. National Geographic, 16 June 2020 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1753, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of breadbasket was in 1753


Dictionary Entries Near breadbasket

Cite this Entry

“Breadbasket.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


bread·​bas·​ket ˈbred-ˌbas-kət How to pronounce breadbasket (audio)
: a major cereal-producing region
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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