Bring Home the Bacon: the History of this Idiom and How It Can Be Used

Last Updated on May 27, 2021

A term which you might hear regularly in spoken or written English is ‘bring home the bacon.’ It is a phrase which is commonly used but are we aware of where it came from? Let’s take a look into the history of this phrase and how it can be used.

Bring Home the Bacon

Bring Home the Bacon Meaning

The idiom ‘bringing home the bacon’ refers to earning a wage or making a living.

Origin of this idiomatic expression

This phrase has its roots in the days where the church would give people who had successful marriages, an award of bacon. This practice dates all the way back to the 1100s, so this is a saying which has stood the test of time. There are also stories that the phrase came from the early 1900s when a boxer was asked by his mother to bring home some bacon, after he won a big fight, he brought home not only the bacon ‘but the gravy as well.’

“Bringing Home the Bacon” Examples

Example Sentences

You could use this phrase when referring to going out to work in order to provide for your family.

  • ‘Right, I’m off out to bring home the bacon.’

The phrase is also quite commonly used when describing the main wage earner of a household.

  • ‘Geoff is the one who brings home the bacon.’

Other examples:

  • That was the motivation to bring home the bacon.
  • Someone has to bring home the bacon in the family.
  • I have to go to work, you know. I must bring home the bacon.
  • Most men who bring home the bacon five days a week relax over the weekend.

Conversation Examples

There are many situations in which you might hear the term ‘bringing home the bacon.’ Some of those conversations might sound a little like the following examples.

Conversation 1:

  • Person 1: “Where is Stephen today?”
  • Person 2: “He’s off out bringing home the bacon.”

Conversation 2:

  • Person 1: “Well, after six years staying at home looking after my children, I now have to find a job.”
  • Person 2: “Yes, well you do need to bring home the bacon one way or another.”

Other Ways to Say the Phrase

There are many other ways in which you could express the meaning of the idiomatic term ‘bringing home the bacon.’ Some of these might include the following.

  • The bread winner
  • Earning a crust
  • Putting food on the table

What Does “Bring Home the Bacon” Mean | Picture

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