phrases, sayings, idioms and expressions at

Breaking bread

Posted by Smokey Stover on July 31, 2007

In Reply to: Breaking bread posted by ESC on July 30, 2007

: : : What does this phrase mean? "There's More to Breaking Bread Than Sharing a Meal"

: : Depending on context, it might mean that mealtime is a social occasion as well as an opportunity to take in nutrients, or it might be a complaint from a disgruntled diner who was served very hard bread. ~rb

: Breaking bread has a lot of religious and social meanings. It's about fellowship, not just eating.

The literal meaning of breaking bread is pulling the loaf apart into mouthfuls. The OED finds this meaning as early as around 1300, alongside the figurative meaning of sharing a meal. Other symbolic meanings have been attached at times, including the distribution of bread, as in the New Testament, and partaking in Communion (e.g., in the Roman Catholic Mass).