What Does To Break Bread With Someone Mean?

To Break Bread With Someone Meaning

Definition: To share a meal with someone.

This expression means more than just eating; it is sharing a sense of brotherhood with someone or some group of people. It is a significant event that fosters some meaningful connection and cooperation.

Perhaps you are enemies; breaking bread with someone indicates a sense of forgiveness and moving forward to the affair.

Origin of To Break Bread With Someone

break the bread definition This expression has Biblical origins; Jesus, when eating with His Disciples, would break the bread (which was much harder than typical bread today and thus requires breaking rather than tearing) and pass out pieces to be shared among them as a group.

In the Wycliffe Bible from 1395, we can read in Acts 2:42,

  • And were lastynge stabli in the teching of the apostlis, and in comynyng of the breking of breed, in preieris.

The above passage is translated today as,

  • They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

By the 1300s, there was a spiritual hymn entitled, “Let Us Break Bread Together.”

The phrase has lived on because bread is such a life-giving and ubiquitous source of nourishment, and it carries the implications of friendship and life with it.

In the 1900s, W.H. Auden wrote poetically,

  • Art is our chief means of breaking bread with the dead.

Examples of To Break Bread With Someone

symbolism of breaking bread In the modern day, people use the phrase break bread with someone when talking about sharing an emotional experience along with their food.

It is usually a coming-together of some sort, as in,

  • All the members of the community broke bread together and shared ideas on how to improve the area.

-or-

  • The two leaders met and broke bread, and they forged a partnership between their two nations.

More Examples

  • The mayor, borrowing a page from the annual Dallas Dinner Table program that brings diverse folks together over a meal, said his “first step is to eat with people, to break bread with people I don’t normally break bread with.” –Dallas News
  • A schoolteacher in Southeast Washington wanted to let bygones be bygones and break bread with Trump. The Washington Post

Summary

The phrase to break bread with someone is to share a meaningful connection over a meal, often bringing together two people or groups who previously had reason to be disconnected.

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