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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was living hand to mouth and I felt completely hopeless because I was so poor.’
    • ‘I'd rather live hand to mouth than get money for nothing.’
    • ‘It's farcical situation, more so now that so many clubs are living hand to mouth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    precariously, from day to day, not knowing where one's next meal is coming from, uncertainly, insecurely, in poverty, meagrely
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