earn (one's) keep

(redirected from earn their keep)

earn (one's) keep

To perform sufficient work or help in exchange for money or housing. If you're going to live here rent-free, then you need to earn your keep by helping out with the cooking and cleaning. That boarder earns his keep by doing maintenance in the building.
See also: earn, keep

earn one's keep

to help out with chores in return for food and a place to live; to earn one's pay by doing what is expected. I earn my keep at college by shoveling snow in the winter. Tom hardly earns his keep around here. He should be fired.
See also: earn, keep

earn one's keep

Also, be worth one's keep or salt . Work well enough to deserve what one is paid, as in Get a job-it's time you earned your keep, or With that batting average he's not worth his salt. The keep in this phrase refers to "room and board," which in former times sometimes constituted the only reward for working (on a farm, in a home, etc.). The salt stands for "salary" and alludes to the ancient Roman practice of paying soldiers an allowance to buy salt. [First half of 1800s]
See also: earn, keep

earn your keep

be worth the time, money, or effort spent on you.
See also: earn, keep

ˌearn your ˈkeep

be useful, helpful, successful, etc. enough to balance any costs that you cause: Jill more than earns her keep with the help she gives me around the house.Though it’s expensive to buy and maintain, the new computer is earning its keep as we’ve been able to reduce the number of staff.
See also: earn, keep
References in periodicals archive ?
What needs to be done is that the media mould public opinion to make the relevant parliamentary committee and the parliamentarians earn their keep.
It was only when Washington Consensus overtook the free world in the late 1980s introducing users' charges in health and education that public-sector undertakings began to be measured on their ability to earn their keep. If they failed they were asked to sell their assets and/or borrow from the market.
It is time for all our MPs to earn their keep and make a rational descision: in or out.
Twice-weekly performances would also have the merit of keeping MPs at Westminster longer, so they earn their keep. They might also bring back Betty Boothroyd to keep order.
Mind you, once there they often earn their keep. This latest star-based travelogue sees Bake Off host Sue jet off to Southeast Asia, where she explores the lives of people who live on the banks of its longest river.
I know there are pretty good odds that I'm going to like a band that has a song called "Zombie Girl,'' but The Automatons more than earn their keep. With monster-movie gothic themes and a low-fi garage punk sound, the band barrels forward with a dark wit, manic energy and enthusiasm.
Poetry entails some responsibility: to see the world; to make the words earn their keep, to make extraordinary leaps and to earn readers' trust so they land safe and amazed.
Claims that books sections are eliminated or downsized because they can't earn their keep are bogus.
Trainer David Evans likes his sharper types to earn their keep and four second-place finishes from as many starts did the Nick Shutts-owned filly a slight disservice.
Telling the story of a people not immediately accepted, who took to fishing to earn their keep as they slowly earned their rights in Canadian society, "Spirit of the Nikkei Fleet" also describes and how Canada made the same tragic mistake as America during World War II and forcibly imprisoned its own Japanese-Canadian citizens for no crime.
In my view a more productive way of occupying their time would be that they should be made to earn their keep by doing work such as digging ditches and doing farm work, harvesting vegetables, etc.
At least those who come here from abroad are on the whole willing to earn their keep as well as their citizenship.
She describe the opportunities for women in religion and the suffering of women who dismissed it, the legal status of women, which rarely allowed for a woman to be alone in status or business, the ways in which women could control their own destinies somewhat at home but also had to work within a patristic society, the means by which women could earn their keep, although limited as to choices of careers or work outside the home, the culture of and around women, and the fates of women born to assume power and authority.
Refurbished buildings must earn their keep in an unforgiving world.