live from hand to mouth

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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 periodicals archive ?
Frankly speaking, before travelling for pilgrimage to Makkah none of the single person would have realized for a minute that someone in their neighbourhood is living from hand to mouth. In this case, will God accept their Hajj?
Unlike in the past when the government was reeling in petrodollars, the present government has literally been living from hand to mouth and has resorted to borrowing to make ends meet.
But as he exits the arena, Ruengo has little to show for it and remains poor, living from hand to mouth.He now wants to concentrate on dairy farming and has bought two heifers, which he hopes will one day produce enough milk for him to make a living.
"The low earners and anybody living from hand to mouth should be exempted from taxation," he said.
The reality is this: even if you're not a huge Corbynite, take a step back and look at those who are living from hand to mouth, not knowing where the next meal is coming from.
Some years ago, there was no business activity and I was living from hand to mouth. Now Pakistan has started exporting bamboo, so I earn Rs1,000 to Rs3,000 per day.
They are kids who will always remain where they are, living from hand to mouth, if they do not attain education and aspire to be better things life.
They have been living from hand to mouth while his cronies enjoy a privileged life.
One of the first students we met was John Chege, a tall, strong, good-looking, confident young man but as a child he was a street kid, taking drugs and living from hand to mouth in the lawless confines of Thika slums, a small industrial town on the outer boundaries of Nairobi.
"I am a very unhappy person living from hand to mouth. The quality of life I dreamt for my children is far from the reality.
five hundred million to the public exchequer and the burden would be borne by the poor masses living from hand to mouth.
Seems to me this Tory government don't care about the working families living from hand to mouth, the unemployed or the disabled.
They are living from hand to mouth, never certain from where the next meal might come.
something warm a bean mush * language living from hand to mouth
They are living from hand to mouth and find it hard to earn bread and butter for their offspring and those dependent upon them.