keep the wolf from the door, to

keep the wolf from the door

To do, acquire, or provide something that will allow one or something to narrowly avoid death, ruin, etc. We were extremely poor then, and begging for scraps was all I could do to keep the wolf from the door. This loan will keep the wolf from the door, at least, but I'm worried it won't last long.
See also: door, keep, wolf
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

keep the wolf from the door

Fig. to maintain oneself at a minimal level; to keep from starving, freezing, etc. I don't make a lot of money, just enough to keep the wolf from the door. We have a small amount of money saved, hardly enough to keep the wolf from the door.
See also: door, keep, wolf
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

keep the wolf from the door

Ward off starvation or financial ruin. For example, In many countries people are working simply to keep the wolf from the door, and owning a car or washing machine is just a dream , or Gail would take any job now, just to keep the wolf from the door. This term alludes to the wolf's fabled ravenousness. [Mid-1500s]
See also: door, keep, wolf
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 the wolf from the door

Something which keeps the wolf from the door provides you with enough money to live on. He was doing two jobs just to keep the wolf from the door. Government pension provisions will keep the wolf from the door but they will not provide you with a comfortable old age. Note: For many centuries in the past, wolves were symbols of hunger.
See also: door, keep, wolf
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

keep the wolf from the door

have enough money to avert hunger or starvation.
The phrase has been used in this sense since the mid 16th century, but the image of the wolf as a symbol of a devouring and destructive force is found much earlier than this. In Matthew 10:16, for example, Jesus tells his disciples: ‘Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves’.
See also: door, keep, wolf
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep the ˈwolf from the door

(informal) make sure that you have enough money to pay for the basic things like food, rent, heating, etc: Their wages are just enough to keep the wolf from the door.
See also: door, keep, wolf
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

keep the wolf from the door

To avoid the privation and suffering resulting from a lack of money: Both spouses had to work in order to keep the wolf from the door.
See also: door, keep, wolf
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

keep the wolf from the door, to

To ward off starvation or insolvency. This term, based on the lupine characteristic of ravenousness, dates from the sixteenth century and was already included in John Heywood’s Proverbs (1546). A cliché by about 1800, it is heard less often today.
See also: keep, wolf
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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