bring home the bacon

To bring home the bacon is to earn a living. You might bring home the bacon by working nights at a warehouse and as a school crossing guard by day.

There are a lot of guesses about the origin of this phrase, some of them going back to twelfth century England and various traditions and sayings involving bacon. However, to bring home the bacon seems to be a much more recent idiom. The mother of American boxer Joe Gans, in a 1906 telegram in which she urged her son to win a difficult match, made the first recorded use of bring home the bacon, encouraging him to do just that.

Definitions of bring home the bacon
  1. verb
    supply means of subsistence; earn a living
    “Women nowadays not only take care of the household but also bring home the bacon
    synonyms: provide
    see moresee less
    type of:
    support materially or financially
  2. verb
    attain success or reach a desired goal
    synonyms: come through, deliver the goods, succeed, win
    see moresee less
    fail, go wrong, miscarry
    be unsuccessful
    show 21 types...
    hide 21 types...
    hit the intended target or goal
    bring off, carry off, manage, negociate, pull off
    be successful; achieve a goal
    clear, pass
    go unchallenged; be approved
    hit the jackpot, luck out
    succeed by luck
    nail, nail down, peg
    succeed in obtaining a position
    make it, pass
    go successfully through a test or a selection process
    make without a miss
    act, work
    have an effect or outcome; often the one desired or expected
    pan out
    be a success
    accomplish, achieve, attain, reach
    gain with effort
    arrive, get in, go far, make it
    succeed in a big way; get to the top
    get a certain number or letter indicating quality or performance
    get to, make, progress to, reach
    reach a goal, e.g., "make the first team"
    pass an inspection or receive authorization
    ace, breeze through, nail, pass with flying colors, sail through, sweep through
    succeed at easily
    achieve or accomplish in the least degree, usually used in the negative
    come to, strike
    reach the highest or most decisive point
    bring about; accomplish
    achieve or reach on average
    finagle, manage, wangle, wrangle
    achieve something by means of trickery or devious methods
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month