Word Confusion: Bread versus Bred

Posted July 13, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

She’s been bread to abide by…

Yeah, I read this in a book. Even my overactive imagination can’t figure out what this is about. Well, yes, I know the author meant to write bred, but I tend to take words literally. If a writer uses bred, I’m assuming they mean how the person/animal/thing was brought up, raised or who its parents were. Now, bread says to me *grin* sandwiches, French toast, submarines, bread pudding, bagels, a grilled cheese sammich… You know, bread.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end. Consider sharing this Word Confusion with friends by tweeting it.

Bread Bred
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

A variety of breads and grains

Image by Peggy Greb, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


A cross-bred Shetland pony

Image by Shetta (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

German Part-Bred Shetland Pony gelding.

Part of Grammar:
Noun and as a noun modifier Adjective;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

past tense or past participle for breed

Food made of flour, water, and yeast or another leavening agent, mixed together and baked

  • The bread or wafer used in the Eucharist
  • The food that one needs in order to live

[Informal] Money

Usually in combination

[Of a person or animal] Reared in a specified environment or way

Verb, intransitive:
[Of animals] Mate and then produce offspring

Verb, transitive:
Cause an animal to produce offspring, typically in a controlled and organized way

  • Develop a kind of animal or plant for a particular purpose or quality
  • Rear and train someone to behave in a particular way or have certain qualities
  • Cause something to happen or occur, typically over a period of time
  • [Physics] Create fissile material by nuclear reaction
bread roll
Italian breads

I hope you know which side your bread is buttered on, you young whippersnapper.

I’d take it kindly if you’d come home with me and break bread with my family and me.

The microwave is the best thing since sliced bread.

A loaf of bread and thou beside me singing.

I hate doing this, but I need the bread.

His day job puts bread on the table.

He can’t help it if he’s a city-bred man.

Verb, intransitive:
Toads are said to return to the pond in which they were bred.

Verb, transitive:
He wants to see the animals from which his new stock has been bred.

These horses are bred for this sport.

Theresa had been beautifully bred.

His success has bred his sense of confidence.

Yep, what’s bred in the bone comes out in the flesh.

History of the Word:
Old English brēad is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch brood and the German Brot. Old English brēdan meaning produce as in offspring and bear as in a child. It’s of Germanic origin and related to the German brüten

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C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?