Boy gives girl a kiss on the cheek. They approach a lamp post. For a moment, it looks as if they will pass it on opposite sides, but boy grabs girl's hand and pulls her around to his side of the post, to avoid getting 'bad luck.'

Boy says, "Bread and butter!"

What does 'bread and butter' mean in this situation?


This is a superstitious expression:

Bread and Butter (superstition)

"Bread and butter" is a superstitious blessing or charm, typically said by young couples or friends walking together when they are forced to separate by an obstacle, such as a pole or another person. By saying the phrase, the bad luck of letting something come between them is thought to be averted. Both walkers must say the phrase, and if they do not do this, then a bitter quarrel is expected to occur. The concept derives from the difficulty of separating butter from bread once it has been spread – buttered bread cannot be "unbuttered".

Apparently, since B forced G onto his side of the obstacle, and the couple were not split, the phrase was not necessary.

  • Interesting one. Must be uniquely American. – WS2 Jan 8 '14 at 10:47
  • As an American, I've never heard of the phrase (in this context) before (though the superstition of letting things come between you seems familiar). The only context I've heard the phrase - other than the literal one - is to refer to one's income; similar to "bringing home the bacon". – Doc Jan 8 '14 at 17:08

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