English : To Bring Home The Bacon





What is the meaning and origin of the idiom To Bring Home The Bacon?

By Mr. Hari, Chicago, USA – 20th June 2007.

Bacon is the salted or smoked meat that comes from the back or sides of a pig. Bacon and eggs is a popular American breakfast. When someone brings home the bacon, he or she is providing food for the family. What do you need in order to buy food? Money, of course! When you say that someone brings home the bacon, it means that he or she has a job and is earning a salary. He or she is the breadwinner.

Here are a few examples.

• Bhaskar is married, but it's his wife who brings home the bacon.

• Prakash's parents have been telling him to get a job so that he can bring home the bacon.

In the old days, weekly and monthly fairs were very common in villages. On these occasions, farmers used to bring vegetables, meat, cattle, sheep, etc. and sell them at the market place. As a form of entertainment, a well-greased pig was let loose in the market. Any man or woman catching the pig could claim it as his/her prize. Since the animal had grease all over it, it was very slippery and hence very difficult to catch. But the person catching it could take it home. The man or woman catching the pig was literally bringing home the bacon. Nowadays, of course, you don't bring pigs home, instead you provide food for the family by bringing home a salary. But things haven't changed all that much. These days in order to bring home the bacon, you often have to grease someone's palm.



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