on the breadline


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on the breadline

Extremely 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 in the United States, particularly in the 19th and early 20th centuries. If I don't make a big sale this week, my family will be on the breadline in no time. My grandmother was on the breadline throughout her childhood, so she doesn't have much patience for kids complaining about what latest gadget their missing out on.
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on the breadline

People who are living on the breadline are extremely poor. Too many men have children and then forget about them — leaving the children and the mothers living on the breadline. They should be stripped of everything they own but the bare essentials. Let them feel what it is like to be on the breadline. Note: You can use the breadline to mean a level of income where it is just possible to live. Obviously I'd want to earn enough to keep me above the breadline. Families scraping a living on low incomes and benefits are already living below the breadline. Note: In times of hardship, particularly in the 19th century in the United States, poor people used to line up outside bakeries or soup kitchens for free or very cheap bread.
See also: breadline, on

on the ˈbreadline

very poor: Most of the unemployed in this area are on the breadline.In North America, a breadline was a queue of poor people waiting to receive free food from the government.
See also: breadline, on

on the breadline

Dependent on public donations of food.
See also: breadline, on
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1990, just over a fifth of the population, 20.4 per cent, were on the breadline. Today the figure is 27.4 per cent.
In 1980, the year after Mrs Thatcher took office, 27% were on the breadline, by 1990 when she left office the figure stood at 33.6% or 75,294.
MORE than a third of Scots kids are being brought up in families living on the breadline.
More than half - 54 per cent - of children in unemployed families in Scotland are living on the breadline, compared with 10 per cent of those in working families.
PS100 Letter YOUR report on Nurses on the Breadline brought it home to me just how much they devote their lives to taking care of the rest of us.
The Citizen's Advice Bureau said the scheme had seen families threatened with repossession or eviction, and others without money for food and Durham North MP Kevan Jones said: "It is leaving many people on the breadline."
The charity is stretched to the limit trying to help desperate citizens on the breadline.