1. A staple food made from flour or meal mixed with other dry and liquid ingredients, usually combined with a leavening agent, and kneaded, shaped into loaves, and baked.
a. Food in general, regarded as necessary for sustaining life: "If bread is the first necessity of life, recreation is a close second" (Edward Bellamy).
b. Something that nourishes; sustenance: "My bread shall be the anguish of my mind" (Edmund Spenser).
a. Means of support; livelihood: earn one's bread.
b. Slang Money.
tr.v. bread·ed, bread·ing, breads
To coat with bread crumbs, as before cooking: breaded the fish fillets.
[Middle English, from Old English brēad; see bhreu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots. N., sense 3b, possibly from Cockney rhyming slang bread and honey.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.