hand to mouth

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - hand to mouth

"hand to mouth"

to have just enough to provide for only the necessities and nothing extra;

the bare minimum


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - hand to mouth

A couple are talking ...

Husband:  We sure have come a long way from where we began.

Wife:  We sure have.  Do you remember when we first got married that we worried about how we would pay the next month's rent.  We would eat macaroni for the last week of every month.  We had to buy all our clothes at the second-hand store.  We never had anything extra.

Husband:  Yes, we were living hand to mouth.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - hand to mouth

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1:  We're going to try something different for our next marketing campaign. We're going to cut the budget by eighty percent compared to previous campaigns.

Colleague 2:  That will require some innovative thinking. We will have to design a campaign with the absolute necessities only.

Colleague 1:  Exactly. Call it a hand-to-mouth campaign.

hand to mouth - Usage:


Usage Frequency Index:   640   click for frequency by country

hand to mouth - Gerund Form:

There is no gerund form for hand to mouth.

hand to mouth - Examples:

1)  Vets living hand to mouth, emergency line ups out the door and around the block, homeless people, ...

2)  It was the same story, crappy jobs, living hand to mouth, ran out of money.

3)  ... scrambling to make ends meet. I am not alone. I live hand to mouth. I have no savings and no reserves.

4)  Generally, the local people are living a hand to mouth existence and their first priority is survival.

5)  Judy's gay son, Nick, a former drug addict living from hand to mouth, seems even more desperate.

6)  ... as its administrators warned that they were "living from hand to mouth" and could make no guarantees about the plant's future.

7)  We are managing from hand to mouth. We are actually scrounging for resources.

8)  ... those who live on daily wages, from day to day, from hand to mouth.

9)  If I had needed flexi hours, we'd have been living from hand to mouth as nobody could run a clinical unit part-time.

10)  Often living from hand to mouth, few of them, if any, will ever own their own properties.

11)  We have not had a holiday in over 13 years and basically live hand to mouth. Our children have not had all the things friends have.

12)  ... but as the majority live hand to mouth these days, even the fare to Indonesia would be a struggle for them.

13)  They now lived a hand to mouth existence, selling most of their crops to friends or neighbours.

14)  My mother spoke many times of living hand to mouth. I can remember the ration books which limited what you could buy.

15)  Yet the United Nations continues to live hand to mouth, with dozens of its members refusing to pay their full regular dues.

16)  ... should be very proud to be an American, she is not living hand to mouth, she lives in a million dollar house, has a good job, ...

17)  Fifty-seven years in this country and still we're living hand to mouth.

18)  The reason many didn't do it is because they are pensioners living hand to mouth and unable to save, or tenants in rented accommodation.

19)  He had lived hand to mouth ever since, half starved throughout the winter, ...

20)  In the following years I lived mostly from hand to mouth, and went hungry on several occasions.