Also found in: Thesaurus, Idioms.


a. Influenced by or undertaken out of necessity: a bread-and-butter job.
b. Reliable, especially for producing income; basic: Household appliances are the company's bread-and-butter goods.
2. Expressive of gratitude for hospitality: a bread-and-butter note.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bread′ and but′ter

a basic means of support or income; source of livelihood; sustenance.


(ˈbrɛd nˈbʌt ər)

1. providing a livelihood or reliable income: the agency's bread-and-butter accounts.
2. of or pertaining to the basic needs of life.
3. basic or everyday; staple; routine.
4. expressing thanks for hospitality: a bread-and-butter letter.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


A. ADJ (fig) [issues, needs] → básico, primario; [product] → de más venta; [customer] → más asiduo
B. CPD bread-and-butter letter Ncarta f de agradecimiento (a una señora en cuya casa el invitado ha pasado varios días)
bread-and-butter pudding Npudín m de pan y mantequilla
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
References in classic literature ?
My sister had a trenchant way of cutting our bread-and-butter for us, that never varied.
Therefore I resolved to put my hunk of bread-and-butter down the leg of my trousers.
They placed themselves close to where Hatta, the other messenger, was standing watching the fight, with a cup of tea in one hand and a piece of bread-and-butter in the other.
Alice did not quite know what to say to this: so she helped herself to some tea and bread-and-butter, and then turned to the Dormouse, and repeated her question.
I tried to conceal my embarrassment by handing round cups of tea and rather ill-cut bread-and-butter. I wanted no one to take notice of me, so that I could observe these famous creatures at my ease and listen to the clever things they said.
"The milk stage, the bread-and-butter stage, and the roast-beef stage.