Synonyms for break bread

Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.


A testimony is thus given that all who break bread are church members.

"Brother, I will go in and break bread and eat salt with thee," he said.

Bless you, yes—come down at once and break bread with me—I'll wait.

What fingers of the hand to eat with, what hand to break bread with—and so on and so forth.

Or don't you want to break bread with me, under the circumstances?

It would be fitting,” he continued, “that we should break bread together.

The members meet on Sundays to “break bread” and discuss the Bible.

She had broken the unwritten law not to break bread with an enemy of her house.

Then he invited me to go to his home and break bread with him.

Fifteen persons to greet my landlady on Christmas Day, and not a soul to break bread with me!


Old English bread "bit, crumb, morsel; bread," cognate with Old Norse brauð, Danish brød, Old Frisian brad, Middle Dutch brot, Dutch brood, German Brot. According to one theory [Watkins, etc.] from Proto-Germanic *brautham, which would be from the root of brew (v.) and refer to the leavening.

But OED argues at some length for the basic sense being not "cooked food" but "piece of food," and the Old English word deriving from a Proto-Germanic *braudsmon- "fragments, bits" (cf. Old High German brosma "crumb," Old English breotan "to break in pieces") and being related to the root of break (v.). It cites Slovenian kruh "bread," literally "a piece."

Either way, by c.1200 it had replaced the usual Old English word for "bread," which was hlaf (see loaf (n.)). Slang meaning "money" dates from 1940s, but cf. breadwinner. Bread-and-butter in the figurative sense of "basic needs" is from 1732. Bread and circuses (1914) is from Latin, in reference to food and entertainment provided by governments to keep the populace happy. "Duas tantum res anxius optat, Panem et circenses" [Juvenal, Sat. x.80].


Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.