To see details on the word
please enable javascript.


She lives hand-to-mouth.
  a subsistence level of poverty such that all resources are needed just to survive and none are left to save or invest for the future
 Mark word for later review on this computer
hand-to-mouth hand to mouth
Web Links:
(try right-click if popups are disabled)
Dictionary -®
Dictionary/Synonyms - Google®
Dictionary List - OneLook®
  • She lives hand-to-mouth.
  • Now you have to understand that twenty pennies might be a good bit of money for some little ragamuffin troupe living hand-to-mouth.
    Patrick Rothfuss  --  The Name of the Wind
  • He had returned to Scotland a year or so ago, and spent six months alone or with a gang of "broken men"—men without clans—living hand to mouth in the forest, or raiding cattle from the borderlands.
    Diana Gabaldon  --  Outlander
  • The winter went, and the spring came, and found them still living thus from hand to mouth, hanging on day by day, with literally not a month’s wages between them and starvation.
    Upton Sinclair  --  The Jungle

  • Show more
  • "Tata Nzolo!" we sing, and I wonder what new, disgusting sins we commit each day, holding our heads high in sacred ignorance while our neighbors gasp, hand to mouth.
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
  • When I look back on it, it seems to me as if I had been living here like a poor woman—just from hand to mouth.
    Henrik Ibsen  --  A Doll’s House
  • We had together consumed all my pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • We live from hand to mouth, as you can see …. there is no wealth here, such as your goods might have brought.
    Kamala Markandaya  --  Nectar in a Sieve
  • Gollum watched every morsel from hand to mouth, like an expectant dog by a diner’s chair.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Two Towers
  • Best live a careless life from hand to mouth.
    Sophocles  --  Oedipus the King

  • Show more again
  • I never in my life saw men so careless of the morrow; hand to mouth is the only word that can describe their way of doing; and what with wasted food and sleeping sentries, though they were bold enough for a brush and be done with it, I could see their entire unfitness for anything like a prolonged campaign.
    Robert Louis Stevenson  --  Treasure Island
  • The German poet Goethe once said that "he who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth."
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie’s World
  • They were people of a sort very common in America today, who live respectably from hand to mouth.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • Magdalena gave birth to a baby girl, Amantina, and for years they lived hand to mouth.
    Julia Alvarez  --  In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Every one could not be as helter skelter, hand to mouth as she was.
    Virginia Woolf  --  To the Lighthouse
  • There she is with plenty of money, and a house and farm, and horses, and comfort, and here am I living from hand to mouth—a needy adventurer.
    Thomas Hardy  --  Far from the Madding Crowd
  • That his uncle should arrive to treat with me of these things was a solution that, strictly speaking, I ought now to have desired to bring on; but I could so little face the ugliness and the pain of it that I simply procrastinated and lived from hand to mouth.
    Henry James  --  The Turn of the Screw
  • We live from hand to mouth, most of us, with a small family of immediate desires; we do little else than snatch a morsel to satisfy the hungry brood, rarely thinking of seed-corn or the next year’s crop.
    George Eliot  --  The Mill on the Floss
  • Before our marriage, she had moved in circles of relative wealth and comfort, a life very different from the often hand-to-mouth existence of the freedom fighter.
    Nelson Mandela  --  Long Walk to Freedom
  • We landed on a world already seeded by the poor buggers who’d gone indigenie two centuries before and were living hand to mouth and cudgel to brain wherever they could.
    Dan Simmons  --  Hyperion
  • As Clyde pictured this uncle, he must be a kind of Croesus, living in ease and luxury there in the east, while here in the west—Kansas City—he and his parents and his brother and sisters were living in the same wretched and hum-drum, hand-to-mouth state that had always characterized their lives.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  An American Tragedy
  • In America society seems to live from hand to mouth, like an army in the field.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 1
  • After a couple of months, I was living pretty much hand to mouth.
    Mal Peet  --  Tamar
  • I’m tired of living hand to mouth.
    Dave Peizer  --  A Man Named Dave
  • At eighteen he would have dragged on from hand to mouth, from hour to hour, from penny to penny, until eighty.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • She’d been living hand-to-mouth in a cardboard lean-to a few blocks from the seawall when she was picked up.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • He knew besides that the Athelnys lived from hand to mouth, and with their large family had neither space nor money to entertain a stranger.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • But what help are you going to be to these people on Brewster while you’re living hand-to-mouth on file-clerk jobs waiting for a revolution?
    Gloria Naylor  --  The Women of Brewster Place
  • The only ghosts I let in were local ones, the smoky traces of people I knew and the dinge of my own somber shadow, New York ghosts in every case, the old loud Bronx, hand-to-mouth, spoken through broken teeth—the jeer, the raspberry fart.
    Don DeLillo  --  Underworld
  • "[64] [64] Tirer le diable par la queue, "to live from hand to mouth."
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • Such abuse!
    Just because I’m filthy, because I wear such rags,
    roving round the country, living hand-to-mouth.
    But it’s fate that drives me on:
    that’s the lot of beggars, homeless drifters.
    I too once lived in a lofty house that men admired;
    rolling in wealth, I’d often give to a vagabond like myself,
    whoever he was, whatever need had brought him to my door.
    And crowds of servants I had, and lots of all it takes
    to live the life of ease, to make men call you rich.
    But Zeus…
    Homer  --  The Odyssey
  • She liked the quote from Goethe: "He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth."
    Jostein Gaarder  --  Sophie’s World
  • It seems probable that mediocrity of fortune would have been disposed to be less magnanimous than the Collegians, who lived from hand to mouth—from the pawnbroker’s hand to the day’s dinner.
    Charles Dickens  --  Little Dorrit
  • The people who dwelt here lived from hand to mouth.
    W. Somerset Maugham  --  Of Human Bondage
  • Mother peeled the egg and we divided it, crumbling it carefully from hand to mouth while the others watched us closely, as if expecting immediate results.
    Barbara Kingsolver  --  The Poisonwood Bible
Search for samples from other sources:
(try right-click if popups are disabled)
Interest -- Source
General -- Google News®
General -- Time® Magazine
General -- Twitter®
Associated words [difficulty]:   hand-to-mouth [6]
     If popups are enabled: Search in OneLook®   If Flash® is also enabled: Search in Visuwords®
Most commonly used in these subjects:   Business, Personal Finance, Science
Home . . . enhancing vocabulary while reading