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See also: break-fast and break fast


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Sausages, bacon, fried mushrooms and tomatoes, scrambled eggs and toast at a restaurant in Singapore. These foods are eaten for breakfast in many countries.


From Middle English brekefast, brekefaste, equivalent to break +‎ fast (literally, "to end the nightly fast"). Cognate with Dutch breekvasten ("breakfast").


  • IPA(key): /'bkf?st/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • (meal eaten after religious fasting): also IPA(key): /'b?e?k?fæst/


breakfast (countable and uncountable, plural breakfasts)

  1. The first meal of the day, usually eaten in the morning.
    You should put more protein in her breakfast so she will grow.
    • 1591, Shakespeare, Henry VI, part 2, act 1:
      a sorry breakfast for my lord protector
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in The Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      Peter, after the manner of man at the breakfast table, had allowed half his kedgeree to get cold and was sniggering over a letter. Sophia looked at him sharply. The only letter she had received was from her mother. Sophia's mother was not a humourist.
  2. (by extension) A meal consisting of food normally eaten in the morning, which may typically include eggs, sausages, toast, bacon, etc.
    We serve breakfast all day.
  3. The celebratory meal served after a wedding (and occasionally after other solemnities e.g. a funeral).
  4. (largely obsolete outside religion) A meal eaten after a period of (now often religious) fasting.
    • c. 1693?, John Dryden, Amaryllis
      The wolves will get a breakfast by my death.

Usage notes

  • In the sense "meal eaten after a period of (now often religious) fasting", the word is more often spelled break-fast or break fast; it is also often pronounced differently.

Derived terms


  • -> Afrikaans: brekfis
  • -> Irish: bricfeasta
  • -> Maori: parakuihi
  • -> Scottish Gaelic: bracaist
  • -> Welsh: brecwast


See also


breakfast (third-person singular simple present breakfasts, present participle breakfasting, simple past and past participle breakfasted)

  1. (intransitive) To eat the morning meal.
    • 1847, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre, 1st edition, volume II, chapter I, page 12
      "Oh, he set off the moment he had breakfasted! [...] "
    • May 14, 1689, Matthew Prior, epistle to Fleetwood Shephard Esq.
      First, sir, I read, and then I breakfast.
  2. (transitive) To serve breakfast to.
    • 1987, Anne McCaffrey, The Lady: A Tale of Ireland, page 269:
      By seven-thirty she had breakfasted them, provided each with a packed lunch and Thermoses of coffee and tea




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