- to provide for material needs; earn a living.
- to accomplish a task; be successful or victorious: Our governor went to Washington to appeal for disaster relief and brought home the bacon—$40 million.
Origin of bacon
- to achieve success
- to provide material support
Word Origin for bacon
early 14c., "meat from the back and sides of a pig" (originally either fresh or cured, but especially cured), from Old French bacon, from Proto-Germanic *bakkon "back meat" (cf. Old High German bahho, Old Dutch baken "bacon"). Slang phrase bring home the bacon first recorded 1908; bacon formerly being the staple meat of the working class.
Biography: Roger Bacon was something of a Renaissance man before there was a Renaissance. Over the course of his long life, his energetic research would lead him to study everything from languages to mathematics to optics. He is most remembered for his insistence on the importance of pursuing fruitful lines of scientific research through experimentation. His writings describe countless experiments; while the majority were probably never performed by him, the profusion alone of experimental ideas is nothing short of astounding. His own laboratory work dealt primarily with alchemy, optics, and mechanics. He was among the first to apply geometric and mathematical principles to problems in optics and the behavior of light, allowing him to make important observations on reflection and refraction. His interest in mechanics led him to describe flying machines and other devices that had not yet been invented. He was the first person in the West to come up with a recipe for gunpowder, and he suggested reforms to the calendar, which would ultimately be implemented hundreds of years later. His novel ways of pursuing knowledge were sometimes viewed with suspicion, resulting at one time in imprisonment; but he bravely resisted all strictures on his intellectual life, even when that meant having to write and work in secret.
save one's bacon
Also, save one's neck or skin. Rescue one from a difficult situation or harm, as in I was having a hard time changing the flat tire but along came Bud, who saved my bacon, or The boat capsized in icy waters, but the life preservers saved our skins. The allusion in the first term is no longer clear. It may simply be a comical way of referring to one's body or one's life. At the time it was first recorded, in 1654, bacon was a prized commodity, so perhaps saving one's bacon was tantamount to keeping something precious. Both variants allude to saving one's life, the one with skin dating from the early 1500s, and with neck, alluding to beheading, from the late 1600s.
see bring home the bacon; save one's bacon.