sing for one's supper

sing for (one's) supper

To obtain something by working for it or by providing another service in return. You're welcome to stay with us on the farm as long as you like, but you'll have to sing for your supper while you're here.
See also: for, sing, supper
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

sing for one's supper

Work for one's pay or reward, as in Entertaining visiting scientists is part of the job; you know I have to sing for my supper . This metaphoric term alludes to wandering minstrels who performed in taverns and were paid with a meal. First recorded in 1609, it gained currency with the familiar nursery rhyme, "Little Tommy Tucker, sings for his supper" (c. 1744).
See also: for, sing, supper
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

sing for one's supper

Work in order to be paid. This metaphor, alluding to the wandering minstrels who performed in English taverns and were paid with a meal, also appears in the familiar nursery rhyme, “Little Tommy Tucker sings for his supper, What shall we give him? White bread and butter,” published in Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book (ca. 1744). The expression is older still, appearing in Beaumont and Fletcher’s play The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1609, 2:2): “Let him stay at home and sing for his supper.”
See also: for, sing, supper
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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