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meat-and-po·​ta·​toes ˈmēt-ən(d)-pə-ˈtā-(ˌ)tōz How to pronounce meat-and-potatoes (audio)
: of fundamental importance : basic
also : concerned with or emphasizing the basic aspects of something
: unpretentious, simple
a real meat-and-potatoes guy
: providing or preferring simple food (such as meat and potatoes)

meat and potatoes

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plural in form but singular or plural in construction
: the most interesting or fundamental part : meat sense 4

Examples of meat-and-potatoes in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
It’s populated with meat-and-potatoes, blood, sweat and tears working actors who are very respected. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 6 Sep. 2023 Often humanities are still considered less valuable than the meat-and-potatoes of basic and clinical sciences. Isabella Cueto, STAT, 30 Aug. 2023 There’s a place for what amounts to meat-and-potatoes TV, even in the prestige-conscious streaming world. Brian Lowry, CNN, 21 July 2023 In an hour and a quarter, the artist and his backing band, an ever-reliable collective called The Food Stamps, traveled through gospel, bluegrass standards, originals and straight-fire, meat-and-potatoes country music. Diana Leyva, USA TODAY, 19 June 2023 And although most songs here don’t stray appreciably far from the Foos’ hearty, meat-and-potatoes rock offerings, a couple of experiments are revelatory. Jonathan Cohen, SPIN, 26 May 2023 And to Hall’s point, teams on the road seem to play a more meat-and-potatoes game. Matt Porter,, 28 Apr. 2023 Netflix courts various audience niches, but this more closely approximates the meat-and-potatoes fare that has found success on more traditional platforms. Brian Lowry, CNN, 23 Mar. 2023
The playoffs are the meat and potatoes, with dessert thrown in. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 27 Apr. 2023 Rachael Ray’s ending her longtime talk show after more than a decade, but food content will still be her meat and potatoes. Los Angeles Times, 7 Mar. 2023 Nothing fancy, mostly meat and potatoes. Marc Myers, WSJ, 29 Dec. 2020 Chef Avgeria Stapaki takes the homey layered dish of eggplant, stewed ground meat and potatoes, and transforms it into a visually stunning showstopper. Chicago Tribune Staff, Chicago Tribune, 28 Nov. 2022 First, the meat and potatoes. Evan Romano, Men's Health, 2 Mar. 2022 In the 1970s, a new wave of American cooking began to emerge from the meat and potatoes of the past. Kate Kassin, Bon Appétit, 6 Mar. 2023 Dinner Dinner is Roose’s heaviest meal of the day, focusing on meat and potatoes. Mallory Arnold, Outside Online, 10 Feb. 2023 But the upper level, the hi-hat and the cymbals doing those 16th-notes — the faster patterns — are the connective tissue for the meat and potatoes of kick snare. Vulture, 16 Mar. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'meat-and-potatoes.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1951, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of meat-and-potatoes was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near meat-and-potatoes



meat and potatoes

Cite this Entry

“Meat-and-potatoes.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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