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[hand-tuh-mouth] /ˈhænd təˈmaʊθ/
offering or providing the barest livelihood, sustenance, or support; meager; precarious:
a hand-to-mouth existence.
Origin of hand-to-mouth
1500-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hand-to-mouth
  • For too many of us, snacking has become so automatic that our brains barely register the hand-to-mouth motion.
  • It takes an educated population that isn't living hand-to-mouth to risk an upending of the status quo.
  • They live in near-constant silence, stoically bearing the drudgery of their hand-to-mouth existence.
  • Though he never starved, he lived a genteel version of a hand-to-mouth existence.
  • Even those with royal connections are living hand-to-mouth.
  • Critics argue that the government's hand-to-mouth policymaking is self-defeating, and illustrates its general lack of planning.
  • Such inflation-economies turn eventually into credit-driven, unsustainable living-from-hand-to-mouth economies.
  • Enteroviruses are spread by hand-to-mouth contact and coughing.
  • Mobile phones and personal computers have become common in this land of former hand-to-mouth farmers.
  • In poor countries, living is so hand-to-mouth that there is scant time to think about the distant future.
British Dictionary definitions for hand-to-mouth


adjective, adverb
with barely enough money or food to satisfy immediate needs: a hand-to-mouth existence
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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