live from hand to mouth

live from hand to mouth

Fig. to live in poor circumstances. When both my parents were out of work, we lived from hand to mouth. We lived from hand to mouth during the war. Things were very difficult.
See also: hand, live, mouth

live from hand to mouth

or

live hand-to-mouth

COMMON Someone who lives from hand to mouth or lives hand-to-mouth always struggles to afford the things they need. I have a wife and two children and we live from hand to mouth on what I earn. I just can't live hand-to-mouth, it's too frightening. Note: Hand-to-mouth is also used before nouns to describe a situation where someone struggles to afford what they need. Unloved and uncared-for, they live a meaningless hand-to-mouth existence.
See also: hand, live, mouth
References in periodicals archive ?
And people, who live from hand to mouth, have been also affected.
They live from hand to mouth and often have a couple of kids at home to feed.
Romantic notions of happiness coming from within and the spiritual loftiness to transcend dire, excruciating circumstances have no place in the lives of those who live from hand to mouth, whose very humanity is challenged every single day.
Especially, the poor classes living in the rural areas and suburban areas of cities who live from hand to mouth can hardly manage to purchase gold and other costly things used in marriages.
Chelsea and Manchester United are world class sides built on money and shrewd planning, while Newcastle live from hand to mouth.
We Israelis live from hand to mouth, as in the diaspora.
5The ongoing financial problems of Welsh Schools' Athletics Association to be resolved, so that the association does not have to live from hand to mouth on a yearly basis.
Too many schools live from hand to mouth because they have no budget certainty for the following year.
The players he left behind will find out in the next couple of days if the cheques from those shysters that pass for a board at Accies are going to bounce - and, as they have done in recent times, the club will continue to live from hand to mouth.
Port Vale, the Potteries club who live from hand to mouth, are seasoned FA Cup battlers, but the Valiants, fighting a losing battle to avoid relegation back to the Second Division after five years with the best of the rest, are poorly equipped to add Liverpool to their list of scalps tomorrow.
Buyers continued to live from hand to mouth in view of the larger crop and sluggish market.