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A breadbox (chiefly American) or a bread bin (chiefly British) is a container for storing bread and other baked goods to keep them fresh. The process speeds up at cooler temperatures, such as under refrigeration, and thus bread stored at room temperature remains fresher for longer periods than refrigerated bread.
Breadboxes are thus designed to:
- Keep their contents at room temperature, prolonging edible storage time.
- Have a lid loose enough to allow airflow, reducing condensation, which helps to prevent the formation of mold
- Have a lid tight enough to protect their contents from mice and all other pests, including ants and flies.
The most common reference to breadboxes is the phrase "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" when trying to guess what some surprise object may be. This question was popularized by Steve Allen on the American game show What's My Line? where he initially asked the question on 18 January 1953. It remains a popular question in the parlor game 20 Questions. One may also be punched "in the breadbox", which is the abdomen.