Definition of bread and water in English:

bread and water


  • A frugal diet that is eaten in poverty, chosen in abstinence, or given as a punishment.

    ‘he could be put on bread and water for forty-eight hours’
    • ‘‘Oh yeah, it's great - finally I can eat more than bread and water,’ he joked.’
    • ‘It will be a tough bread and water diet supplemented by soul searching and large slices of humble pie topped by healthy sprinklings of modesty.’
    • ‘During the mass children carried symbolic objects including pieces of wood, representing the rural forest communities who were deported, and bread and water, symbolising food rations in the camps.’
    • ‘It would almost certainly be possible to generate public enthusiasm for public executions and feeding prisoners on bread and water.’
    • ‘It's a step up from bread and water, but it is ridiculous that this is what he's expected to live on.’
    • ‘Any OAPs without a private pension must be living on bread and water.’
    • ‘As Hollywood learned long before many of us were born, when you dish up bread and water because it's quick and easy, a starved population will eat.’
    • ‘The Vatican asked Catholics to either abstain from all food from sunrise to sunset, as devout Muslims do, take just bread and water, or eat the minimum required for their health.’
    • ‘So I ended up with bread and water for the first two days.’
    • ‘I wince when I spot a bill on the doormat, I'm on tenterhooks when the car is in for a service (as it was last week - it's bread and water for us for the next couple of months) and fear the worst when I get a receipt from the cash point.’
    • ‘How would you like your bread and water, Mr. Galileo?’
    • ‘‘It's just regular food, not bread and water,’ she confirmed.’
    • ‘This included locking them up for a week on a diet of bread and water.’
    • ‘The cardinals soon chose Gregory X who, three years later, introduced new rules for the election of Popes, including one that said cardinals had to meet in seclusion on a gradually reduced diet until they were living on bread and water.’
    • ‘Affluent Russians are paying hundreds of pounds to enlist at an army boot camp where they are forced to complete gruelling runs through muddy fields, and where they are fed on porridge, bread and water and are bullied by officers.’
    • ‘The 32 measures included sleep and sensory deprivation, the use of military dogs to terrify prisoners, temperature extremes and diets of bread and water.’
    • ‘They had no bed, breakfast was bread and water and dinner was a bowl of rice with chicken carcass or turkey neck.’
    • ‘What these people need is a diet of bread and water.’
    • ‘In the age of budget cuts, does the warden ever call down and tell him to forget the steak dinners, it's going to be bread and water for awhile?’
    • ‘After an hour of watching kids lick ice creams in front of us - while we survived bread and water - we were released, having raised around $16,000 to help the Red Cross continue its vital community work.’