live from hand to mouth

(redirected from lived from hand to mouth)

live from hand to mouth

To be extremely poor, having only enough money to provide food and shelter each month. I had to live from hand to mouth during most of college, since I could only get part-time jobs that paid minimum wage.
See also: hand, live, mouth
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in classic literature ?
That his uncle should arrive to treat with me of these things was a solution that, strictly speaking, I ought now to have desired to bring on; but I could so little face the ugliness and the pain of it that I simply procrastinated and lived from hand to mouth. The boy, to my deep discomposure, was immensely in the right, was in a position to say to me: "Either you clear up with my guardian the mystery of this interruption of my studies, or you cease to expect me to lead with you a life that's so unnatural for a boy." What was so unnatural for the particular boy I was concerned with was this sudden revelation of a consciousness and a plan.
He knew besides that the Athelnys lived from hand to mouth, and with their large family had neither space nor money to entertain a stranger.
Month after month, the little Bell Company lived from hand to mouth. No salaries were paid in full.
According to her, Kayode cared less about how she and their children survived each day while they lived from hand to mouth. She added that she stopped having s3x with him to avoid getting pregnant again after they had their fourth child.
They lived from hand to mouth and from day to day, and from one election to another ...
He said that the common worker lived from hand to mouth even after working round the clock whereas the rulers living on public taxes gave more importance to their horses and pet dogs than the poor labourers.
"His family supposedly lived from hand to mouth. Why spend HK$5,000 when his family was in dire straits?"
"I have lived from hand to mouth and had even given up on my life as I guessed there was no more hope in the future.
We lived from hand to mouth but were brought up with decency and respect - for ourselves and others.
Only time will tell, and hopefully if it does go ahead - and as stated it will be more of a shock it doesn't now - it proves to be a defining moment in turning around the fortunes of a great club that has lived from hand to mouth for so long now compared to others it once rubbed shoulders with.
Everyone lived from hand to mouth. The only saving grace was that I loved my job at the hospital, where I assisted stroke victims with their physio.
He lived from hand to mouth, shoplifting and street-fighting.
Wright seems to be pointing in that direction: "our inability to foresee--or watch out for long range consequences may be inherent to our kind, shaped by the millions of years when we lived from hand to mouth by hunting and gathering" (Progress p.
military has built mammoth bases everywhere on the island, and local people have lived from hand to mouth by cultivating land at corners of U.S.