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bread and butter

noun
1.
bread spread with butter.
2.
a basic means of support; source of livelihood; sustenance:
The automobile industry is the bread and butter of many Detroiters.
Origin of bread and butter
1620-1630
1620-30

bread-and-butter

[bred-n-buht-er] /ˈbrɛd nˈbʌt ər/
adjective
1.
providing a livelihood or basic source of income; supplying the basic needs of life:
a bread-and-butter job; the agency's bread-and-butter account.
2.
of or relating to basic needs:
housing and other bread-and-butter political issues.
3.
basic or everyday; staple; routine.
4.
expressing thanks for hospitality:
a bread-and-butter letter.
Origin
1720-30; adj. use of noun phrase bread and butter
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for bread and butter

bread and butter

noun
1.
(modifier) a means of support or subsistence; livelihood: the inheritance was their bread and butter
2.
bread-and-butter
  1. providing a basic means of subsistence: a bread-and-butter job
  2. solid, reliable, or practical: a bread-and-butter player
  3. expressing gratitude, as for hospitality (esp in the phrase bread-and-butter letter)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for bread and butter

bread and butter

modifier

: a routine, bread-andbutter type of case

noun phrase

The simple necessities of life; asi needs (mid-1735+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with bread and butter

bread and butter

1.
The essential, sustaining element, as in The quality of the schools is the bread and butter of town property values. This idiom alludes to a basic food, bread spread with butter. [ c. 1700 ]
2.
Means of livelihood, as in John's job is the family's bread and butter. [ First half of 1700s ]
3.
Ordinary, routine, as in Don't worry about it; this is just a bread and butter assignment. [ Second half of 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for bread and butter

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Word Value for bread

8
9
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