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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


bread-and-butter (comparative more bread-and-butter, superlative most bread-and-butter)

  1. Relating to basic sustenance or the requirements for everyday living.
    • 2015, Robert Crane, Christopher Fryer, Crane: Sex, Celebrity, and My Father's Unsolved Murder, page 34:
      These road warrior plays were fronted by former semistars like Forrest Tucker or Hugh O'Brian, who had had their bread-and-butter TV shows cancelled. The job could pay $3,000 to $5,000 a week []
  2. Used other than figuratively or idiomatically: see bread,‎ and,‎ butter.
    bread-and-butter pudding



  1. (archaic) A general saying used to ward off bad luck
  2. (archaic) A saying specifically used to ward off bad luck when separating hands to walk either side of a tree

Related terms[edit]