Definition of sing for one's supper in US English:

sing for one's supper


  • Earn a favor or benefit by providing a service in return.

    ‘the cruise lecturers are academics singing for their supper’
    • ‘Frankly, if they're not going to sing for their supper, they should go straight out the door’.’
    • ‘This is one of those moments where publicists really have to break out the creativity and sing for their supper.’
    • ‘Whether it would guarantee her success in the big race was another matter, but nobody expects her to sing for her supper every night.’
    • ‘Reason is I'm doing a bit of network support for a friend while I'm there - singing for my supper, as it were.’
    • ‘A colleague rather unkindly called it singing for our supper every evening of our lives!’
    • ‘Though ostensibly a study of contemporary trends, the programme relied almost exclusively on picturesque images from the long-gone era of horse-drawn wagons, roadside tinsmithery and jolly beggarmen singing for their supper.’
    • ‘All sang for their supper, offering the principal selling points of their country and their people: ‘Abundance of cheap labour… a treasure house of resources… a captive market.’’
    • ‘But I sometimes wonder what it would be like to just be a normal guest, rather than someone who sings for their supper.’
    • ‘For once in your life, you don't have to sing for your supper.’
    • ‘Decades ago, my dad said, ‘You never know when you might need to sing for your supper.’’