live from hand to mouth

(redirected from one lives 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, to
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, to
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, to
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

hand to mouth, exist/live from

Living with a minimum of sustenance or support. This term, which dates from about 1500, implies that one has so little to live on that whatever comes to hand is consumed. “I subsist, as the poor are vulgarly said to do, from hand to mouth,” wrote the poet William Cowper (1790).
See also: exist, hand, live, to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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