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bread and butter

bread spread with butter.
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


[bred-n-buht-er] /ˈbrɛd nˈbʌt ər/
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.
of or relating to basic needs:
housing and other bread-and-butter political issues.
basic or everyday; staple; routine.
expressing thanks for hospitality:
a bread-and-butter letter.
1720-30; adj. use of noun phrase bread and butter Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for bread and butter
  • Since that time, doing research has been my daily bread and butter.
  • And to go with all the vegetable-centric dishes we've been dreaming up, we've gotta have good bread and butter.
  • It might create a panic too, but human chaos is their bread and butter.
  • Bees' bread and butter is flowers-there's no reason they should be able to distinguish human faces.
  • Pediatric neurosurgeons can't get away from this operation, because it's their bread and butter.
  • It is the one thing that they talk of, for it is their bread and butter.
  • As soon as the hymn was finished, the daughters of the house brought in tea and bread and butter.
  • My plays were bringing in enough for the bread and butter.
  • Before, the blogging and feature-writing were all leisure-time activities, and they're now my bread and butter.
  • Gravity wave astronomers suspect such events may turn out to be the bread and butter of their trade.
British Dictionary definitions for bread and butter

bread and butter

(modifier) a means of support or subsistence; livelihood: the inheritance was their 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


: 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

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 ]
Means of livelihood, as in John's job is the family's bread and butter. [ First half of 1700s ]
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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