live by/on (one's) wits

(redirected from living by your wits)

live by/on (one's) wits

To survive or make a living through one's intellect and resourcefulness. When I lost everything, I had to live by my wits, and it made me a stronger, more savvy person.
See also: by, live, on, wit

live by one's wits

Fig. to survive by being clever. When you're in the kind of business I'm in, you have to live by your wits. John was orphaned at the age of ten and grew up living by his wits.
See also: by, live, wit

live by one's wits

Manage by clever expedience rather than hard work or wealth. For example, Alan's never held a steady job but manages to live by his wits. This expression uses wits in the sense of "keen mental faculties." [c. 1600]
See also: by, live, wit

live by your wits

earn money by clever and sometimes dishonest means, having no regular occupation.
See also: by, live, wit

live by/on your ˈwits

earn money by clever or sometimes dishonest means: Patrick did not go to college, as expected, but learned to live very successfully on his wits.
See also: by, live, on, wit
References in periodicals archive ?
This story, the last in the book, is about the sheer freedom and joy of traveling in a foreign country, living by your wits, being open to any adventure that presents itself, meeting fellow travelers and locals and having no fear about falling flat because you don't know the language.
It is a story of survival, of living by your wits to overcome racist attitudes of white Australians towards Aborigines when they were hounded, captured and incarcerated for no reason other than they were Aborigines.
It's something I want to return to for its own rewards -- working with a smaller, tighter group of people, living by your wits, not having an elaborately pre-worked script.
If you're going to make your living by your wits, you can't work all the time,'' he said.