meal-ticket

meal ticket

noun
1.
a ticket that entitles the bearer to meals in a specified restaurant, especially when meals purchased in this manner are offered at reduced rates.
2.
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.
3.
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:
1865–70, Americanism

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
meal ticket
 
n
slang a person, situation, etc, providing a source of livelihood or income
 
[from original US sense of ticket entitling holder to a meal]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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