Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

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
An Americanism dating back to 1865-70


[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. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for meal ticket
Historical Examples
  • "No," said the man, eyeing the meal ticket with its twenty-one unpunched holes.

  • You've been down there, and that goes for a meal ticket with me!

    The River and I John G. Neihardt
  • Even you, Kate, used to pass the leather on when Jim pinched one, which was doing your share in buying your meal ticket.

    Living Up to Billy Elizabeth Cooper
  • "Bet you five, my opera hat, a good mandolin and a meal ticket on Jim's place against your dress suit," said Petey promptly.

    At Good Old Siwash George Fitch
  • He meant to ask for a meal ticket, but the seemingly proper moment never came, and he decided to pay himself that night.

    Sister Carrie Theodore Dreiser
  • Waster was Leather-head's meal ticket, dicky knees and all, till he threw a splint.

    Bulldog Carney W. A. Fraser
  • Then I thought about my meal ticket and looked worriedly around the room.

    The Chameleon Man William P. McGivern
  • At first I used a credit card arranged after the order of a meal ticket.

    School Credit for Home Work Lewis Raymond Alderman
  • For he had said frankly that when he received his discharge from the Army he would have to dig up a job to get a meal ticket.

    The Pagan Madonna Harold MacGrath
  • I note by the papers that you have served your bit and are now out again digging around for your own meal ticket.

    Within Prison Walls Thomas Mott Osborne
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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for meal ticket

Word Value for meal

Scrabble Words With Friends