One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘she eked out a living as a washerwoman’
scrape, scratch, scrimp
survive, live, stay alive, exist, support oneself, cope, manage, fare, get along, get by, get through, make ends meet, make both ends meet, keep body and soul together
informal keep the wolf from the door, keep one's head above water, make out
2‘people would eke out their supplies through the winter’
economize on, skimp on, be economical with, be more economical with, make economies with, scrimp and scrape, save
be thrifty with, be frugal with, be sparing with, cut back on, make cutbacks in, budget, husband
informal go easy on
3‘the emergency rations need to be eked out with other food to maintain health’
augment, add to, increase, supplement
enlarge, expand, amplify, make bigger, pad out, fill out, bulk out, stretch out
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