by the sweat of (one's) brow

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by the sweat of (one's) brow

Through or because of one's own efforts or hard work. By the sweat of his brow, my father turned a barren little plot of land into the flourishing farm you see today. This pair of entrepreneurs has created a billion-dollar company by the sweat of their brow.
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

by the sweat of one's brow

Fig. by one's efforts; by one's hard work. Tom raised these vegetables by the sweat of his brow. Sally polished the car by the sweat of her brow.
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

by the sweat of one's brow

By hard work, as in The only way he'll succeed is by the sweat of his brow. This figurative usage appears in the Bible (Genesis 31:9), where Adam's punishment for eating fruit in Eden is "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread"-that is, he will have to work for his bread, or living. [c. 1600]
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

by the sweat of your brow

LITERARY
If you earn the money that you live on by the sweat of your brow, you earn it through doing hard physical work. Most people are no longer earning their bread by the sweat of their brow.
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

by the sweat of your brow

by your own hard work, typically manual labour.
This idiom is often used with reference to God's sentence on Adam after the Fall, condemning him to work for his food: ‘In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread’ (Genesis 3:19).
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by the sweat of your ˈbrow

(literary) by your own hard work or physical effort: They had to live by the sweat of their brow.
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

by the sweat of one's brow

By hard work. The expression appears to be based on God’s punishment of Adam for eating the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Not only was Adam expelled, but thereafter he would have to work for a living. The Book of Genesis (3:9) has it, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” John Donne later (1624) spelled it out: “It was part of Adam’s punishment, In the sweat of thy browes thou shalt eat thy bread.”
See also: brow, by, of, sweat
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
When the famished wretches are cut off in this manner from their natural supplies, they are told by their benefactors to work and earn their support by the sweat of their brows! But to no fine gentleman born to hereditary opulence, does this manual labour come more unkindly than to the luxurious Indian when thus robbed of the bounty of heaven.
In his last speech to the Commons, Peel said: "It may be that I shall leave a name sometimes remembered with expressions of good in the abodes of those whose lot it is to labour and earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow when they shall recruit their exhausted strength with abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is no longer leavened by a sense of injustice."
'We must not accept a society in which unfair behaviour triumphs and outdoes people who earn a living by the sweat of their brow or who lost their jobs in corporate restructuring, and companies that follow the law,' Ohtsuru wrote.
As work wraps up at dusk, the tired youth retire home, heads held up high, with a dignity only those who live by the sweat of their brow can understand.
Miracles do happen; but they rarely come for ordinary people, who eke out a living by the sweat of their brow, doing very ordinary things every day (extraordinarily well).
During those years not only was the slavery in Egypt repealed but the curse of Adam suspended: they had no need to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow.
In New York, Los Angeles, Miami and other cities, there is an entire class of people who serve by the sweat of their brow, cleaning homes, doing yardwork and fixing things.
They have to earn money by the sweat of their brows, not by unscrupulous means.