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bring home the bacon

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1

Earn a living, provide the necessities of life, as in Now that she had a job, Patricia could bring home the bacon.

2

Be successful, accomplish something of value, as in George went to Washington and brought home the bacon—he got the funding we needed. Although the earliest citation for this phrase in the Oxford English Dictionary dates from 1924, the term is widely believed to come from the much older game of catching a greased pig, a popular competition at country fairs in which the winner was awarded the pig.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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