Definition of (from) hand to mouth in US English:

(from) hand to mouth


  • Satisfying only one's immediate needs because of lack of money for future plans and investments.

    ‘they were flat broke and living hand to mouth’
    as modifier ‘a hand-to-mouth existence’
    • ‘You climb so far, get into New York and Washington and Los Angeles, and then you regress to the days of living hand to mouth.’
    • ‘I was living hand to mouth and I felt completely hopeless because I was so poor.’
    • ‘Sachs argues, that a syndrome of unpropitious circumstances enchain the poorest countries in a hand to mouth existence that prevents them investing in their future.’
    • ‘I'd rather live hand to mouth than get money for nothing.’
    • ‘Back in 1970, at the start of his four-year stint living hand to mouth as a translator in Paris, Auster had begun working on a difficult early novel, made all the more difficult for him because it relied on a female narrator.’
    • ‘The teachers now recognize that they face a very difficult decision: working alone in the U.S. and scraping some money together to wire home, or bringing over their families and living hand to mouth.’
    • ‘In the initial days and weeks, it was literally a case of living from hand to mouth.’
    • ‘It's farcical situation, more so now that so many clubs are living hand to mouth.’
    • ‘She was now in severe difficulties, because she had been evicted from her home and was living hand to mouth at the homes of friends.’
    • ‘It's all about living hand to mouth and getting through, while postponing some of our debts.’
    precariously, from day to day, not knowing where one's next meal is coming from, uncertainly, insecurely, in poverty, meagrely
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