bread·​win·​ner | \ ˈbred-ˌwi-nər How to pronounce breadwinner (audio) \

Definition of breadwinner

1 : a means (such as a tool or craft) of livelihood
2 : a member of a family whose wages supply its livelihood

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Other Words from breadwinner

breadwinning \ ˈbred-​ˌwi-​niŋ How to pronounce breadwinning (audio) \ noun

Examples of breadwinner in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Losing their protector and breadwinner to the immigration system sets the studious girl on a cross-country quest to determine her mother’s whereabouts and attempt to halt her deportation. Carlos Aguilar, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Immigration/deportation drama ‘Collisions’ gets by on strong performances," 2 Oct. 2019 According to a 2015 report by the Center for American Progress 42 percent of mothers were the main breadwinners for their family, bringing in more than half of their home income. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "Latinas Make 54 Cents For Every Dollar a White Man Makes," 20 Nov. 2019 Fathers today spend far more time on child care than their fathers ever did, and are far less likely to be their family’s sole breadwinner. Lisa Lerer,, "‘Who’s taking care of the kids?’ Is finally a question for dads on the trail, too," 16 June 2019 Fathers today spend far more time on child care than their fathers ever did, and are far less likely to be their family’s sole breadwinner. Lisa Lerer, New York Times, "‘Who’s Taking Care of the Kids?’ Is Finally a Question for Dads on the Trail, Too," 16 June 2019 Now, with the family’s breadwinner gone, Mr. Rodriguez’s relatives are turning to strangers to cobble together enough money to send his body back to Ecuador to be buried. Andrea Salcedo, New York Times, "Jersey City Shooting: Immigrant With ‘Big Dreams’ Was Among Victims," 12 Dec. 2019 Many lost not only their homes but also their husbands, fathers and brothers – the breadwinners. Güneş Murat Tezcür, The Conversation, "5 years after Islamic State massacre, an Iraqi minority is transformed by trauma," 26 Nov. 2019 No ethnicity or geography is immune, the data shows, meaning trauma can affect those caught in farm foreclosures in rural Wisconsin as well as suburban homes where an alcoholic breadwinner loses his job. John Schmid, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Childhood trauma in the U.S. is a 'public health crisis' linked to myriad social problems, CDC study reports," 20 Nov. 2019 Amazon Web Services is becoming less profitable and losing share Amazon's cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, or AWS, has been the company's breadwinner for some time now, and that didn't change last quarter. James Brumley, USA TODAY, "Is this the peak of Amazon? 3 reasons why growth might be hard to come by," 11 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breadwinner.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of breadwinner

1720, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for breadwinner

Time Traveler

The first known use of breadwinner was in 1720

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Statistics for breadwinner

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breadwinner.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for breadwinner


How to pronounce breadwinner (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breadwinner

: a person who earns money to support a family

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More from Merriam-Webster on breadwinner

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breadwinner

Spanish Central: Translation of breadwinner

Nglish: Translation of breadwinner for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breadwinner for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breadwinner

What made you want to look up breadwinner? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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