bread·​line ˈbred-ˌlīn How to pronounce breadline (audio)
: a line of people waiting to receive free food

Examples of breadline in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 1930s millions of able-bodied Americans were thrown out of work and onto breadlines through no fault of their own. Naomi Oreskes, Scientific American, 25 Apr. 2023 The iconography of that desperate, national hunger is so ingrained that a life-size breadline sculpture is incorporated into the presidential memorial for FDR in Washington, DC, a portrait of one of the nation’s darkest hours, as the land of plenty was found wanting. Garrett M. Graff, Wired, 5 June 2020 The publication covers homelessness and housing, and is sold by rough sleepers and other people below the breadline as a way of making a weekly income. Max Foster and Rob Picheta, CNN, 10 June 2022 Medical workers picked shards of glass out of the faces, arms and legs of civilians wounded in the breadline. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2022 Jimmy Hill was in Ukraine at the time to help his partner get critical health care procedures when he was reportedly killed in a breadline. Fox News, 19 Mar. 2022 Too often during bankruptcy proceedings, remediation costs are shunted to the back of the breadline after creditors, executives, employees, and vendors take their share of the company’s assets. Tim McDonnell, Quartz, 12 Apr. 2021 Police officers on bikes circled while volunteers finished placing the last barricades that would split the modern day breadline into two lanes. Nic Garcia, Dallas News, 23 July 2020 The loneliness of a single mother on the breadline, for example, is very different to that of an elderly man whose peers have died, or a teenager who is connected online but lacks offline friendships. Fay Bound Alberti, Quartz, 25 Nov. 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breadline.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1894, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of breadline was in 1894

Dictionary Entries Near breadline

Cite this Entry

“Breadline.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


bread·​line -ˌlīn How to pronounce breadline (audio)
: a line of people waiting to receive free food
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