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meal ticket

a ticket that entitles the bearer to meals in a specified restaurant, especially when meals purchased in this manner are offered at reduced rates.
Informal. someone upon whom one is dependent for one's income or livelihood:
selfish children who look upon their father only as a meal ticket.
Informal. something, as an object or ability possessed by a person, that is necessary to that person's livelihood:
The radio announcer's voice was his meal ticket.
Origin of meal ticket
1865-70, Americanism


[huhb-uh l] /ˈhʌb əl/
Carl Owen ("King Carl"; "The Meal Ticket") 1903–88, U.S. baseball pitcher. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for meal ticket
  • The so-called pro-democracy and human rights movement is a growth industry and a meal ticket for opportunists.
  • The way the dining experience works is you're given a meal ticket that serves as both menu and bill before you're even seated.
  • It's a selfish game depending on constant churning and always hunting for the next meal ticket.
  • Students staying on campus must purchase a meal ticket.
  • All participants residing on campus must purchase a meal ticket.
  • The rice and vegetables were not pureed as instructed on the resident's meal ticket.
  • The money in this bag will only be used to make change for visitors buying a meal ticket.
  • The only costs to students are their meal ticket and local transportation at their point of departure.
  • The only cost incurred is for the purchase of a weekly meal ticket.
  • Provides for entry into event, one meal ticket, and one door prize ticket.
British Dictionary definitions for meal ticket

meal ticket

(slang) a person, situation, etc, providing a source of livelihood or income
Word Origin
from original US sense of ticket entitling holder to a meal
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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Slang definitions & phrases for meal ticket

meal ticket

noun phrase
  1. A superstar athlete who constitutes the drawing and earning power of a team, manager, etc; theFRANCHISE: with his meal ticket, the Brown Bomber himself (1905+ Sports)
  2. Any person, skill, part of the body, instrument, etc, that provides one's sustenance: His looks are his meal ticket (1902+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with meal ticket

meal ticket

A person or thing depended on as a source of income, as in Magic Johnson was a real meal ticket for his team, or Her interpersonal skills will be her meal ticket when she goes into sales. This metaphoric expression alludes to the earlier practice of handing out tickets that entitle their holder to a meal. [ Early 1900s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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