Bread and butter

Dive into what "Bread and butter" means and how this phrase adds flavor to everyday English conversations.


When you hear the term “bread and butter”, do you always think, “Yum, snack time!“? Well, hold onto your butter knives, because this idiom is about more than just your favorite sandwich. Let’s slice it open for our young language lovers!

What does “Bread and butter” mean?

Sure, we’re talking about food, but it’s not just about what’s in your lunchbox. When someone refers to their “bread and butter,” they’re talking about their main source of income or what they rely on for survival.

For instance, you can tell your child, “Doing well in school could help you find your bread and butter in the future!”

Where does “Bread and butter” come from?

Imagine if every time you did your favorite thing, like drawing or playing, you got a cookie. That would be awesome, right?

Well, in the grown-up world, when people talk about their “bread and butter,” they’re not just dreaming about their next snack. They mean the job or thing they do that gives them the money to buy all the essentials—like actual bread and butter for sandwiches, and yes… even cookies!

Long, long ago, back when knights and castles were around, “bread and butter” was what most people had to eat because it was simple and didn’t cost too much. Over time, this meal became a way for folks to talk about how they make their living.

Just like how you might love making lemonade stands in the summer to buy that toy you’ve been eyeing, adults work at their “bread and butter” to take care of their families.

How to use “Bread and butter”

Ready to spread this idiom on thick? Here are some fun ways your child can use it:

  • “Reading is my bread and butter; I’m good at it and it helps me learn."
  • "Soccer is Lisa’s bread and butter; she’s always the best on the field!"
  • "Dad, is fixing cars your bread and butter?”

Other tasty ways to say “It’s important”

Looking for a side of variety? Here you go:

  • The real deal - It’s legit, no fooling!
  • The heart of the matter - Right at the core of things.
  • The name of the game - The main focus or goal.

Fun ways to practice “Bread and butter”

Let’s heat up the oven! How about a sandwich-making competition where each family member gets to explain why their sandwich combo is their ‘bread and butter’? Or during storytime, discuss characters in books and what their ‘bread and butter’ might be.

There you go, hot and fresh from the oven!

The idiom “bread and butter” is a delicious way to help your kids understand the idea of something being essential or fundamental. So let’s make learning idioms your family’s new bread and butter! 🍞🧈