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[bred-win-er] /ˈbrɛdˌwɪn ər/
a person who earns a livelihood, especially one who also supports dependents.
Origin of breadwinner
First recorded in 1810-20; bread + winner
Related forms
breadwinning, noun, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for breadwinner
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yes, my father was aging fast, I would soon be the only breadwinner here.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • Where she is a breadwinner she wants equal pay for equal work.

  • She thought of Francois, who was the breadwinner, and of Felicite, who was blind.

    The Elusive Pimpernel Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • But when was a mere man (and breadwinner) considered at such times?

    The Dew of Their Youth S. R. Crockett
  • The children were yet young, and depended on the breadwinner.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
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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