break bread

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Under medieval conditions, guests brought their own knives worn with them, which were their daggers they hunted and gathered with, then only fit to cut meat. From the expression “break bread with friends” the ellipsis “break bread” implying community developed.

Verb[edit]

break bread (third-person singular simple present breaks bread, present participle breaking bread, simple past broke bread, past participle broken bread)

  1. To eat a meal, especially to eat a shared meal with friends.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], OCLC 964384981, Acts 20:7:
      And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
    • 1879, Anthony Trollope, chapter 63, in John Caldigate:
      At last it was decided that he should take her, reaching the place about the hour of lunch, so that he might again break bread in her father's house.
  2. (Christianity) To take part in Holy Communion.
    • 1979, Ronald E. Osborn, The Faith We Affirm[1], →ISBN, page 61:
      In baptism we make covenant; in communion we renew covenant week by week. . . . After offering prayers of thanksgiving, together we break bread and drink from the cup.

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