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1. To use something sparingly in an attempt to preserve it. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eke" and "out." Until somebody finds us shipwrecked here, we’ll have to eke out all the supplies we have.
2. To obtain something through hard work or effort. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eke" and "out." In addition to my full-time job, I started doing some freelance work and can now eke out my rent payment.
3. To manage to do something successfully immediately before a deadline or in the last remaining amount of time. A noun or pronoun can be used between "eke" and "out." Thanks to two goals in the third period, we were able to eke out a win.
eke out a living
To manage to survive without much money at one's disposal. I just can't eke out a living on the amount of money you're paying me, so I'll have to start looking for another job. I think you should go back to work, John, because the family can't eke out a living on my job alone anymore.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
eke something out
to extend something; to add to something. He worked at two jobs in order to eke his income out. He managed to eke out a living.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Supplement, make last, as in The survivors eked out their food and water until they were rescued. [Late 1500s]
2. Get with great difficulty or effort, as in The soil was terrible but they managed to eke out a living by rotating crops. [Early 1800s]
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.