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bread and butter

Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Means of support; livelihood.
  • n. The essential sustaining element or elements; the mainstay: "As ever, politics, vulgarity and sentimentality were the bread and butter of the Academy Awards” ( David Ansen).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Used other than as an idiom: see bread,‎ butter.
  • n. That which is central or fundamental, as to one's business, survival, or income; a staple or cornerstone.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. means of living.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Seeking bread and butter, or the means of living; controlled by material wants and desires; mercenary: as, the bread-and-butter brigade (applied to office-seekers in the United States).
  • Eating much bread and butter, as young boys or girls; hence, belonging to adolescence; in the stage of growth: as, she's but a bread-and-butter miss.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the financial means whereby one lives

Etymologies

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Examples

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