keep the wolf from the door
Ward off starvation or financial ruin. For example, In many countries people are working simply to keep the wolf from the door, and owning a car or washing machine is just a dream, or Gail would take any job now, just to keep the wolf from the door. This term alludes to the wolf's fabled ravenousness. [Mid-1500s]
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Example sentences from the Web for keep the wolf from the door
France 24 is providing live, round-the-clock coverage of both scenes as they progress.
Domestically, the prime minister maintains the dubious line that he is the only man who can keep the still-fragile peace.
“Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV,” she continued.
Sands was involved in a scandalous-for-the-time romance with the carpenter and there were rumors she was pregnant with his child.New York’s Most Tragic Ghost Loves Minimalist Swedish Fashion|Nina Strochlic|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
A guard is manning the door, which is always kept ajar so she can be monitored.
Before Ripperda could unclasp his lips to reply, the stranger had opened the door, and passed through it like a gliding shadow.The Pastor's Fire-side Vol. 3 of 4|Jane Porter
She looked so sweet when she said it, standing and smiling there in the middle of the floor, the door-way making a frame for her.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay
She walked away toward another door, which was masked with a curtain that she lifted.Confidence|Henry James
Hilda, trembling at the door, more than half expected Mr. Orgreave to say: "You mean, she's invited herself."Hilda Lessways|Arnold Bennett
Sleek finds it far harder work than fortune-making; but he pursues his Will-o'-the-Wisp with untiring energy.The Pit Town Coronet, Volume I (of 3)|Charles James Wills