bread and butter

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bread and butter

1. noun A vital component of something. Bread and butter, as foodstuffs, are considered basic forms of sustenance. A flourishing stock market is the bread and butter of a successful country.
2. noun A job or task that provides one with a steady income. I'm an artist on the weekends, but being a tutor is my bread and butter.
3. adjective Providing financial stability. The phrase can be hyphenated when used as an adjective. I love any writing assignment where I can be creative, but I always make sure to pick up some bread-and-butter gigs to pay the bills.
4. adjective Typical or common. The phrase can be hyphenated when used as an adjective. My sister worries about everything, even the bread-and-butter tasks of everyday life.
See also: and, bread, butter
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

someone's bread and butter

Fig. someone's basic income; someone's livelihood—the source of one's food. I can't miss another day of work. That's my bread and butter. I worked as a bartender for a year, and it was the tips that were my bread and butter.
See also: and, bread, butter
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

bread and butter

1. 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]
2. Means of livelihood, as in John's job is the family's bread and butter. [First half of 1700s]
3. Ordinary, routine, as in Don't worry about it; this is just a bread and butter assignment. [Second half of 1800s]
See also: and, bread, butter
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

bread and butter

COMMON
1. If something is your bread and butter, it is your most important or only source of income. `Who's your audience?' — `We play maybe a hundred colleges a year. That is our bread and butter.' I think I'm more controlled at work. I have to be; it's my bread and butter. Note: Your bread-and-butter business is the part of your business which produces the main part of your income. It's not exactly thrilling but it's good bread-and-butter work all the same.
2. The bread and butter of a situation or activity is its most basic or important aspects. It's the bread and butter of police work, checking if anybody had seen anything suspicious. Note: You can also talk about bread-and-butter issues or aspects of something. On major bread-and-butter issues, there's little difference between the candidates.
See also: and, bread, butter
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

someone's bread and butter

someone's livelihood; routine work to provide an income.
1998 Times It is not that the smaller deal has disappeared—they remain the bread and butter of this industry.
See also: and, bread, butter
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

your ˌbread and ˈbutter

the work that somebody does which provides them with enough money to live: He’s written one or two novels but journalism is his bread and butter.
See also: and, bread, butter
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

bread and butter

n. one’s livelihood. It’s bread and butter to me. I have to do it.
See also: and, bread, butter
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Since when has anyone on a bread-and-butter wage paid 40 per cent tax?
Lest you think that the "bread-and-butter" metaphor is too plebian for the ES 300, or that Clements is in some ways minimizing the significance of the car, know that he also says that when they were developing it, "we put our eggs into the most luxurious basket we could build." And given the aforementioned accolades, that's quite a basket.
The analysis strikes a balance between shorter term "bread-and-butter" focus (low risk for failure, but usually modest rewards) and a "silver bullet" focus (higher risk, but huge rewards)(Fig.
* Bread-and-butter projects: <$50,000 per year incremental profit; benefits 1-2 times the cost of the annual budget for incremental research projects and special skill services.
This is accomplished in the bread-and-butter category with activities such as the following:
A complete series built around a bread-and-butter off-tackle run
COACHES WHO ARE IN THE PROCESS OF organizing an offense have to start with an idea of what they want for a bread-and-butter play and then go on to build a series around it.
It is the kind of bread-and-butter play that you may consider building an outside zone series around.
My great-aunt Nora, the last of the family on the Kansas homestead, made the world's best bread-and-butter pickles, and they were the magical ingredient in her potato salad.