keep body and soul together

keep body and soul together

To survive, especially through very modest means. I had to ask my parents to loan me money because, thanks to those hospital bills, I don't even have enough to keep body and soul together.
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep body and soul together

Fig. to manage to keep existing, especially when one has very little money. (Compare this with keep the wolf from the door.) We hardly had enough to keep body and soul together. I don't earn enough money to keep body and soul together.
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

keep body and soul together

Stay alive, support life, as in He earns barely enough to keep body and soul together. This expression alludes to the belief that the soul gives life to the body, which therefore cannot survive without it. Today it most often is applied to earning a living. [Early 1700s]
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
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.

keep body and soul together

If you do something to keep body and soul together, you do it to earn enough money to buy the basic things that you need to live. 20-year-old Rafael says he's selling firewood to keep body and soul together. Note: You can also say that you hold body and soul together. For a while he held body and soul together by working as a migrant laborer.
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

keep body and soul together

manage to stay alive, especially in difficult circumstances.
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep body and ˈsoul together

(often humorous) manage to stay alive: I hardly earn enough to keep body and soul together.
See also: and, body, keep, soul, together
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep body and soul together, to

To sustain life, often just barely. This term, frequently used to describe a job that pays scarcely enough to live on, rests on the idea that the soul gives life to the body, which dies when the soul is separated from it. Dating from the early eighteenth century, it became a cliché by the mid-nineteenth century or so. Writing on prostitution in the Manchester Guardian in 1974, Suzanne Lowry quipped, “Keeping body and soul together is never as difficult as trying to keep them separate.”
See also: and, body, keep, soul
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
FEW things in life must be as humiliating as being homeless and having to beg to keep body and soul together.
It is worrying that the leader of a once-great party has to freelance to keep body and soul together.
I mean, do you enjoy waiting on tables and running around filling in at offices or whatever else you do to keep body and soul together down there?"
Funny I thought we ate to keep body and soul together.