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Definition 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
  • She lives hand-to-mouth.
  • 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
  • After a couple of months, I was living pretty much hand to mouth.
    Mal Peet  --  Tamar
  • 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
  • "[64] [64] Tirer le diable par la queue, "to live from hand to mouth."
    Victor Hugo  --  Les Miserables
  • 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
  • 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
  • Magdalena gave birth to a baby girl, Amantina, and for years they lived hand to mouth.
    Julia Alvarez  --  In the Time of the Butterflies
  • Best live a careless life from hand to mouth.
    Sophocles  --  Oedipus the King
  • Gollum watched every morsel from hand to mouth, like an expectant dog by a diner's chair.
    J.R.R. Tolkien  --  The Two Towers
  • 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
  • In America society seems to live from hand to mouth, like an army in the field.
    Alexis de Toqueville  --  Democracy In America, Volume 1
  • 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 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
  • We had together consumed all my pistoles, and now just rubbed on from hand to mouth.
    Benjamin Franklin  --  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
  • Every one could not be as helter skelter, hand to mouth as she was.
    Virginia Woolf  --  To the Lighthouse
  • They were people of a sort very common in America today, who live respectably from hand to mouth.
    Theodore Dreiser  --  Sister Carrie
  • 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
  • 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

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