a person who earns a livelihood, especially one who also supports dependents.

Nearby words

  1. breadstick,
  2. breadsticks,
  3. breadstuff,
  4. breadth,
  5. breadthways,
  6. break,
  7. break a leg,
  8. break and entry,
  9. break away,
  10. break bread

Origin of breadwinner

First recorded in 1810–20; bread + winner

Related formsbread·win·ning, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breadwinner

British Dictionary definitions for breadwinner



a person supporting a family with his or her earnings
Derived Formsbreadwinning, 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

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