Definition of bread in US English:



  • 1Food made of flour, water, and yeast or another leavening agent, mixed together and baked.

    ‘a loaf of bread’
    as modifier ‘a bread roll’
    ‘Italian breads’
    • ‘Elijah looked around, and by his head was a jar of water and some baked bread.’
    • ‘Other ways of using the fruit include drying slices and grinding them into flour for bread.’
    • ‘In preparation, the women have baked 500 loaves of bread to share with their visitors.’
    • ‘While we waited, hot freshly baked bread rolls were brought to the table along with a very large pepper mill.’
    • ‘The Secretary-General is supposed to bake bread without flour, much less yeast.’
    • ‘Baking a loaf of bread will change the way you think about food.’
    • ‘They are as important to the quality of his bread as the flour, salt, and oil he uses.’
    • ‘They passed by a bakery, and the pair caught a delicious whiff of freshly baked bread loaves laid out outside on a desk.’
    • ‘The refining process also denudes the flour on which this bread is based of much of its fibre and nutrients.’
    • ‘The smells were of fresh mint and coriander, of bread baking in a wood oven.’
    • ‘On the kitchen counter sat a freshly baked loaf of bread and a large chocolate cheesecake.’
    • ‘I was making a stew which would hopefully last a few days and I'd also baked a loaf of bread earlier.’
    • ‘Unfortified whole wheat bread and bread baked from cake flour will still be available.’
    • ‘As food he would take with him specially baked small loaves of bread.’
    • ‘I can assure you she gave them no chance to eat wheat bread from her flour barrel.’
    • ‘Sooner rather than later, you really must bake a loaf of bread.’
    • ‘Substitute whole-grain flour for half or all of the white flour when baking bread.’
    • ‘The same scheme will be applied to yoghurts, margarine, bread yeast, ice creams and vermouths.’
    • ‘One of the nicest gifts I ever received was a splendid loaf of bread the student had baked.’
    • ‘I've baked countless loaves of bread as a baker and saved the world from hunger.’
    1. 1.1 The bread or wafer used in the Eucharist.
      ‘altar bread’
      • ‘The symbolic bread was broken and given to the disciples with instruction to eat it.’
      • ‘My flesh, Jesus said, is the bread of life given for the world, bread willing to be broken.’
      • ‘Thirdly, the breaking of bread reminds us that the church lives under the shadow of the cross.’
      • ‘Then we are ready for Jesus to reveal himself to us in the breaking of the bread during Communion.’
      • ‘The bread was to represent Jesus' body, which, according to Rees, was broken for everyone.’
      • ‘This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’
      • ‘The church is necessary, because we cannot break the bread and drink the wine alone.’
      • ‘The bread is representative of Christ's body, and the wine is his blood.’
      • ‘There also is no mention of the familiar words of blessing over the bread and cup.’
      • ‘Altars in the homes are decorated with bread, candy, fruit, and flowers.’
      • ‘I invite you to come now and to eat the living bread and drink the new wine of Christ and His Gospel.’
      • ‘When he sat down at the table to eat, he took some bread and said a blessing; then he broke it and gave it to them.’
      • ‘In its first room were the lamp-stand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place.’
      • ‘When you receive communion, Jesus is present to you in the bread and in the wine.’
      • ‘After all, the consecrated bread had become body, and a body already contains blood.’
      • ‘Now this was according to God's will, so that the church might be provided with pure altar bread made by the hands of a chaste and innocent youth.’
      • ‘In his place was a priest with power to turn wine into blood and wafers of bread into flesh.’
      • ‘Trial by blessed bread was a test for priests, for it was assumed guilty clergy would choke on hallowed food.’
      • ‘History offers numerous examples of pious Roman Catholic women who claim to exist on the wine and bread of the Holy Sacrament alone.’
      • ‘The other kind of bread makes us strong in our love for God, other people, and ourselves.’
    2. 1.2 The food that one needs in order to live.
      ‘his day job puts bread on the table’
      • ‘Let it be enough for you to have bread and live virtuously and poorly like Christ, as I do here.’
      • ‘His dad's job is putting bread on the table.’
      • ‘Of course we must end poverty, and give men and women enough bread to live on.’
  • 2informal Money.

    ‘I hate doing this, but I need the bread’
    • ‘She's going to be tired and irritable, and bound to bring up the subject of who earns the bread.’
    • ‘I don't have the bread to buy a new bike.’
    • ‘It makes sense to use your head and spread the bread.’
    • ‘The uncreative tell the creative what to do because they want the bread.’
    cash, hard cash, ready money
    View synonyms


[with object]
  • Coat (food) in breadcrumbs before cooking.

    ‘bread the chicken and fry it in oil’
    • ‘Use a separate breading station for vegetables and meats or just make sure you bread the vegetables first.’
    • ‘Bread meat, chicken and fish rather than broiling or roasting them.’
    • ‘I used ground beef, cubed mozarella instead of cheese string, and I breaded the meatballs.’
    • ‘So although I have no problem breading veal, or diving into the intricacies of pasta making, seafood remains a bit of a mystery to me.’
    • ‘I went about breading and frying slices of extra-firm tofu as the aroma of fried chicken filled the kitchen.’
    • ‘Once all fish are breaded, cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 15 minutes.’
    • ‘Rather than relying on fried onions from the can, I breaded the onions in panko (Japanese breadcrumbs).’
    • ‘However, fresh fish can be breaded and pan-fried with a crispy cornmeal coating in less than 10 minutes.’
    • ‘Continue breading each food item, keeping them separate on the plate or baking sheet.’
    • ‘Amaranth flour is good for breading fish or chicken.’


  • the best (or greatest) thing since sliced bread

    • informal Used to emphasize one's enthusiasm about a new idea, person, or thing.

      ‘they think that she is the greatest thing since sliced bread’
      • ‘That's not to say there isn't a market there, rather that we haven't been convinced it's quite the next best thing since sliced bread.’
      • ‘She finally locates the Assistant Wine Whatever-His-Title-Is, and he of the broad-smile-on-a-wide-face recommends the wine as if it were the next best thing since sliced bread.’
      • ‘While some analysts think it's the next best thing since sliced bread, it has the feeling of WAP redux.’
      • ‘Some people are a little confused by this latest trend, wondering what all the fuss is about and why it's becoming the next best thing since sliced bread.’
      • ‘Just because almost everyone thinks the group is the next best thing since sliced bread doesn't mean that it won't fall apart.’
      utmost, optimum, last word, very limit, height, epitome, peak, pinnacle, acme, apex, apogee, zenith, culmination, perfection, nonpareil, extreme, extremity
      View synonyms
  • bread and circuses

    • A diet of entertainment or political policies on which the masses are fed to keep them happy and docile.

      • ‘It also feeds nationalist hunger among the populace, making them proud of the achievements of their country even while they realize that they live under an authoritarian and corrupt government - bread and circuses for the masses.’
      • ‘All the rest is a soap opera dreamed up by politicians and their lickspittles in the London media, just as mad Roman emperors gave their citizens bread and circuses to keep them from revolting.’
      • ‘We're surrounded by show, just as the Roman Empire turned to bread and circuses to hide other things that were taking place.’
      • ‘I am reminded of Juvenal's weary dictum about bread and circuses, which in rough translation said the Roman citizen thought of little else but feeding his face and watching sport.’
      • ‘All the citizen sheep require is a shepherd to provide bread and circuses and to whisper electronic promises of security into their ears at night.’
      • ‘Then we would dump it in favor of bread and circuses.’
      • ‘It's said that the mainstream media is increasingly dominated by corporate interests, political spin, and bread and circuses postmodern pap.’
      • ‘Office-holders spend much of their time supplying bread and circuses.’
      • ‘The modern version of globalization, by contrast, is run more along Roman lines, in which the provinces are milked to pay for the bread and circuses of the imperial heartland.’
      • ‘Call me economically irrational, call me sentimental, call me a sucker for bread and circuses, but I must admit I got a buzz over seeing the first train arrive in Darwin at the weekend.’
      • ‘A couple of millennia ago, Roman satirist Juvenal said that there were only two things that a citizen anxiously wished for - bread and circuses.’
      • ‘Besides bread and circuses, (invented to distract everyone from toppling tyrants in the ‘good old days’), something had to be done to let frisky folks vent a little.’
      • ‘Outside its locked doors, amid atmospheric squalor, the huddling masses distract themselves with bread and circuses, while one man agitates for revolution.’
      • ‘My suspicion is that it all went wrong after ordinary citizens tired of bread and circuses and moved on to musicals.’
      • ‘And this kind of mass entertainment destroyed the morality of the Roman people, who no longer worked for a living; they lived on bread and circuses, on entertainment and the dole.’
      • ‘To suggest that Roman numerals are not appropriate to enumerate the Super Bowl is to fail to understand the significance of bread and circuses in ancient Rome and their connection to the legendary circuses during Super Bowl week.’
      • ‘And maybe near-by, someone will hear something a little less shrill than the sound of 100,000,000 people clamoring for more bread and circuses.’
      • ‘To use his own analogy, at present the people enjoy both bread and circuses.’
      • ‘And in the time-honoured political tradition of ensuring the plebeians are provided with both bread and circuses, there is a mysterious allocation for a ‘national indoor sports facility’, location unknown.’
      • ‘It would seem that little has changed since the first-century Roman satirist Juvenal famously wrote that all that the modern citizen craved was bread and circuses.’
  • bread and water

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

      • ‘What these people need is a diet of bread and water.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Oh yeah, it's great - finally I can eat more than bread and water,’ he joked.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The 32 measures included sleep and sensory deprivation, the use of military dogs to terrify prisoners, temperature extremes and diets of 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.’
      • ‘It's a step up from bread and water, but it is ridiculous that this is what he's expected to live on.’
      • ‘‘It's just regular food, not bread and water,’ she confirmed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Any OAPs without a private pension must be living on bread and water.’
      • ‘How would you like your bread and water, Mr. Galileo?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘So I ended up with bread and water for the first two days.’
      • ‘It would almost certainly be possible to generate public enthusiasm for public executions and feeding prisoners on 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This included locking them up for a week on a diet of bread and water.’
  • bread and wine

    • The consecrated elements used in the celebration of the Eucharist; the sacrament of the Eucharist.

      • ‘They could conduct baptisms, weddings and funerals, but certain priestly functions were still forbidden, including consecrating the communion bread and wine.’
      • ‘It means: the true and total change of bread and wine into Christ's body and blood.’
      • ‘His bodily gestures at the altar in presiding at the Eucharist, especially in consecrating the bread and wine, were important.’
      • ‘It may sound precious, but I wonder if a first step is to begin making, literally making, the bread and wine of communion.’
      • ‘I feel a need to rub elbows with fellow Christians, kneel at a communion rail, taste the bread and wine.’
      • ‘They rejected the sacrament of baptism and denied the presence of Christ in the Eucharist - the Christian sacrament commemorating the Last Supper by consecrating bread and wine.’
      • ‘The Catholic church bars non-Catholics from sharing the Eucharist because of differences over the interpretation of how Jesus is present in the elements of bread and wine.’
      • ‘Worshipers share bread and wine in the Eucharist as a sign of their unity with each other and with Jesus.’
      • ‘And what we have is some bread and wine - consecrated by the Word and prayer to be to us the body and blood of our Lord.’
      • ‘Jesus gathered with his apostles, teaching that bread and wine would become the Eucharist.’
      • ‘What makes us holy, common though we may be, is exactly what makes the elements of bread and wine holy.’
      • ‘Second, researchers could ask if Catholics believe that the consecrated bread and wine are symbols in which the body and blood of Christ are really present.’
      • ‘The non-divine, but human-made Eucharistic elements of bread and wine can affect only the material body.’
      • ‘I mean, of course, the fourfold action of taking, blessing, breaking, and giving the elements of bread and wine.’
      • ‘On the night before he died, Jesus transformed the Passover bread and wine into his own body and blood and told us to eat and drink.’
      • ‘We know him: in our prayer, in the bread and wine of the sacrament, in every gracious word, in smiles of generous welcome and in every moment of joy or beauty that leaves us more whole and human.’
      • ‘We understand now that when we bless the bread and wine, they are transformed into Jesus' own body and blood.’
      • ‘In faith and trust, we need to receive into our very bodies and souls the true presence of Jesus in and through the elements of bread and wine.’
      • ‘Conversely, the Christian sacrifice of bread and wine in the Eucharist is a rejection of the shedding of blood in animal sacrifice.’
      • ‘We need to live our lives formed by the radical sharing of bread and wine in the Eucharist.’
  • the bread of life

    • Something regarded as a source of spiritual nourishment.

      ‘the Scriptures are the bread of life to the believer’
      • ‘Distributing the bread of life by preaching Christ to sinners is a greater work than feeding five thousand with loaves and fishes.’
      • ‘This is the bread of life, this unimportant failure to be perfect.’
      • ‘It is to this place that those whom Jesus raises from the dead will go as well as those who have eaten the bread of life which comes down from heaven.’
      • ‘He is the Holy One of God, he is the bread of life that came down from heaven.’
      • ‘To people who are without God and without hope in the world, it is not the bread of life but only a ‘handful of pebbles’.’
      • ‘In New Testament language, he wants to partake of the bread of life and drink the living water.’
      • ‘Singing is the milk and honey, but sermons, the gospel, is your bread, the bread of life.’
      • ‘Christ feedeth and fast nourisheth his church with his own precious body, that is, the bread of life coming down from heaven.’
      • ‘Around the same time as Peter's bold profession, Jesus told a crowd of people that he was no less than the bread of life and that those who ate of him would live forever.’
      • ‘He is sealed and appointed by God the Father, to give the bread of life to them that hunger, and to give the water of life to them that thirst.’
      • ‘He noted with disgust that he had been given ‘stone instead of the bread of life.’’
      • ‘What sense does it make to bring someone to new birth if they are not to be fed on the bread of life?’
      • ‘Christ comes to each of us, not to be a snack but to be the full meal for our lives, as He is the bread of life.’
      • ‘What does it mean to say that Jesus is ‘the living bread of life?’’
      • ‘The name Bethlehem means ‘House of Bread’ an appropriate name for the one who came to feed us with the bread of life.’
      • ‘It is the bread of life, and you don't have to bake it.’
      • ‘My attitude toward the men and women I was gathering in the congregation was silently shaped by how I was planning to use them to succeed, with little thought to feeding their souls with the bread of life.’
      • ‘In the sixth chapter of the gospel Jesus says, ‘I am the bread of life.’’
  • break bread

    • 1Celebrate the Eucharist.

      • ‘It's a lot easier to imagine him eating a working lunch in a corporate boardroom than breaking bread at a prayer breakfast with a bunch of Christian Dominionists.’
      • ‘Jesus broke bread and said it would represent his body.’
      • ‘The Christian practice of breaking bread acknowledges the table - at home, at work, at school, at church - as a place not only for food but also for speech.’
      • ‘I didn't earn the right to preach, to break bread at the table of Christ, to walk beside people while they pass through the rough places.’
      • ‘Accepting the freedom of this way and sharing it in life together for the sake of the whole world, we find that our random acts of nutrition have been transformed into the Christian practice of breaking bread.’
      • ‘I am thinking especially of the oil painting in the Louvre where a tired and almost anaemic God is recognised by the two disciples with whom he breaks bread in the inn at Emmaus.’
      • ‘Then we broke bread and fed each other from God's table.’
      • ‘Rather than ceasing to baptize or break bread, Lewis suggests an attitude of repentance because of the lack of unity among Christians.’
      • ‘Later, however, precise details would be given: namely, that this confession would take place when the community gathered on each Lord's day to break bread and celebrate the Eucharist.’
      • ‘He gave them a new commandment: break bread together in his memory, and love each other.’
      1. 1.1dated Share a meal with someone.
        • ‘I hope you are in not so much of a rush that you cannot stay and break bread with us.’
        • ‘Local residents can fire questions and voice concerns and break bread with them as they pass.’
        • ‘I'm out of town the rest of today for a loan closing and to break bread with an old friend or two.’
        • ‘I was able to break bread with him just last week.’
        • ‘Those who had the privilege to know him and break bread with him never felt bored or lonely.’
        have dinner, have supper
        View synonyms
  • one cannot live by bread alone

    • People have spiritual as well as physical needs.

      • ‘Biblically, one cannot live by bread alone, but Lent has seen me living almost entirely on Starbucks’ avocado and sun dried tomato sandwiches, with banana and toffee muffins for dessert!’
      • ‘However, as the Bible intones, one cannot live by bread alone.’
      • ‘And since you cannot live by bread alone, you must feed on the bread of life by faith, clinging always to the things of the Ruach Hakodesh, that is, the Moshiach's life-giving words.’
      • ‘As they say, you cannot live by bread alone, so be sure to take care of the liquid side of your diet as well.’
      • ‘Advocates of Taiwan independence, particularly those residing comfortably in the United States, like to point out that one cannot live by bread alone, but must have the personal freedom of choice.’
      • ‘While bread has been referred to as the ‘staff of life,’ it is also true that you cannot live by bread alone.’
      • ‘All we say is that you cannot live by bread alone, which means you cannot live by material standards.’
  • know which side one's bread is buttered (on)

    • informal Know where one's advantage lies.

      • ‘After all, the quiet genius with a wicked wit knows which side his bread is buttered on.’
      • ‘Sylvester Stallone, knowing which side his bread is buttered, isn't just stopping at resurrecting Rocky in the movies.’
      • ‘They know which side their bread is buttered on and vote accordingly.’
      • ‘Robin Richards on the other hand knows which side his bread is buttered and gave much cause for indigestion with his saccharine acceptance of the job.’
      • ‘There are various ways of sidestepping such rules, but one of the best ones is only to brief an expert with a well-developed reputation of knowing which side his bread is buttered on.’
      • ‘They know which side their bread is buttered on and until that changes, they won't budge.’
      • ‘Yep, I'm a lucky man, and I know which side my bread is buttered.’
      • ‘Holland is a sober-suited confidant who knows which side his bread is buttered on.’
      • ‘Gotta let 'em know which side their bread is buttered on.’
  • take the bread out of (or from) people's mouths

    • Deprive people of their livings by competition or unfair working practices.

      • ‘Public funds rest upon taxation: they take the bread out of people's mouths, willing or no.’
  • want one's bread buttered on both sides

    • informal Want more than is practicable or than is reasonable to expect.

      • ‘He is not willing to make any sacrifice but wants his bread buttered on both sides.’
      • ‘Universities that want their bread buttered on both sides when it comes to affirmative action would do better to apply more fiber than fat in their reasoning.’
      • ‘The forum is full of people who seem to want their bread buttered on both sides - who seem to say one thing and do another.’
      • ‘Corporate females on the other hand want their bread buttered on both sides’
      • ‘She wants her bread buttered on both sides - she does not want to be committed to one person’
  • daily bread

    • The money or food that one needs in order to live.

      ‘she earned her daily bread by working long hours’
      • ‘So the electric water heater has started earning its daily bread once more.’
      • ‘Above all, there is need for a paradigm shift from jobless to job-led growth in order to ensure that every poor person is enabled to earn his or her daily bread.’
      • ‘To the extent that it undermines the stable provision of daily bread, it is actively dangerous to the safety and stability of the world, including to ourselves.’
      • ‘They have lived quite turbulent lives and devoted themselves to earning their daily bread.’
      • ‘The boys in their attempt to earn their daily bread clean tables and collect used plates and tumblers, with the disappointment writ large on their faces on finding children of the same age group enjoying delicious dishes.’
      • ‘It is considered honourable to earn one's daily bread through honest work and not by begging or dishonest means.’
      • ‘Which is why we not merely anticipate fresh disasters, of war or peace, but, contrary to all moral PC, firmly count on them for helping us continue to earn our daily bread.’
      • ‘I would suggest that where something so desperately close to our very lives is concerned, our daily bread, we should not lightly ignore the question of who owns it lock, stock and barrel.’
      • ‘But for the integrity and the respect of the innocent billions, earning their daily bread under the confines of economic stagnation, that deserve a shelter of peace.’
      • ‘What prompted this woman - earning her daily bread through selling live chickens and running a dry cleaning agency - to embark on such a mission?’
      • ‘Over 90 per cent of the people lived in the country and earned their daily bread and ale from the resources of the land.’
      • ‘Many preachers are not supported full time, and must earn their daily bread in other work.’
      • ‘He has to brave everything to earn his daily bread.’
      • ‘Earl is more than capable of earning his daily bread at any time as a journalist of some regard at home and elsewhere around the region.’
      • ‘Unlike the animals in the zoo, who lead a sedate life, animals in the Shanghai Circus have to earn their daily bread through hard training and good performances.’
      • ‘Will we always live in the shadows, more worried about the daily bread and less about the lasting values that we have always searched for?’
      • ‘People here are preoccupied with money and resigned to the pressure to compete for their daily bread.’
      • ‘Sometimes they would ride their carriage into the village, and there they would see poor people working hard to earn their daily bread.’
      • ‘For the working class family, it may help their daily bread.’
      • ‘He earns his daily bread using his skills as an illustrator, while music just helps him ‘animate his sketches’.’
      livelihood, income, source of income, means of support, means, subsistence, keep, maintenance, sustenance, nourishment, daily bread, upkeep
      View synonyms


Old English brēad, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch brood and German Brot.