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[bred-win-er] /ˈbrɛdˌwɪn ər/
a person who earns a livelihood, especially one who also supports dependents.
Origin of breadwinner
1810-20; bread + winner
Related forms
breadwinning, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for breadwinner
  • However, few families in the wage economy depend on only one breadwinner.
  • Many who take the job are widows of fallen officers cast in the role of breadwinner.
  • But that same lackadaisical guy is the star who talks openly about the burdens of being the breadwinner for two labels.
  • Fathers worried that they were abrogating their responsibilities as breadwinner.
  • Maybe families lost a breadwinner and feel a harsher pinch from federal taxes.
  • Again, when the breadwinner of a family is ill, hospital or medical bills are often compounded by loss of pay.
  • Most of them attributed it to the social stigma they had experienced by not being the breadwinner.
  • Whereas breadwinner and homemaker marriages mean good homes and communities the homemaker contribution.
  • The public interest lies with breadwinner and homemaker marriages.
  • All of which falls into place around recognition of the breadwinner and homemaker marriage, as distinct from working couples.
British Dictionary definitions for breadwinner


a person supporting a family with his or her earnings
Derived Forms
breadwinning, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for breadwinner

also bread-winner, "one who supplies a living for others, especially a family," 1821, from the noun bread (probably in a literal sense) + winner, from win (v.) in its sense of "struggle for, work at." Attested slightly earlier (1818) in sense "skill or art by which one makes a living." Not too far removed from the image at the root of lord (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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