be on the breadline

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be on the breadline

To be very poor, as if one could (or does) rely on food donations to survive. A "breadline" is a line of people seeking food distributed by a charitable or government agency. If I don't make a big sale this week, my family will be on the breadline. Sure, we have money now, but my grandmother grew up in a family that was on the breadline and lived in public housing.
See also: breadline, on
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Duncan Smith hit back in an interview with his local newspaper, stating he had experienced two periods of unemployment in his life and knew what it was like "to live on the breadline".
Thousands of pensioners live on the breadline. They can't eat properly, and are frightened to leave the heating on in bad weather.
'I am particularly concerned for pensioners and those on low incomes who may already live on the breadline. These changes could mean that, for some, the only option is to sell or re-mortgage.' Got those inner city blues: People living in inner city areas of Cardiff will face the greatest impact from controversial re-banding with up to 93 per cent of homes pushed into higher council tax bands, bringing fears of big hikes in bills.