bread·​win·​ner | \ˈbred-ˌwi-nər \

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 \ noun

Examples of breadwinner in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Park will take on the role of Katherine, a working mother and lone breadwinner in her family. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Grace Park Books First Series Regular Role Since Quitting 'Hawaii Five-0'," 27 June 2018 One element of the film is the different expectations society puts on gender roles, specifically in the early 1960s when the husband was expected to be a breadwinner while the wife stays home to cook, clean, and raise children. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, "On Chesil Beach: A Period Drama With a Surprising—and Subtle—#MeToo Twist," 18 May 2018 Half of American families today have a female breadwinner. Dawn Laguens, Glamour, "Planned Parenthood's Dawn Laguens on Why the Fight for Abortion Rights Is Personal," 30 June 2018 Some of the tensions there are near-constant, like the contradictory expectations between going out and being a breadwinner and staying home and spending quality time with the kids. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "What It Means to Be a 'Good' Father in America Has Changed. Here's How," 15 June 2018 Along with discarding their ties for more comfortable, casual looks, today’s dads can be house husbands and fathers while Mom is out being the sole breadwinner or, more likely, both parents work outside of the home. Marcy Meffert, San Antonio Express-News, "Dads no longer tied to outdated roles," 8 June 2018 When children become the breadwinners so a parent can live on the payroll, things get weird and unhealthy, and there is no unspooling that tangle. Sally Jenkins,, "Welcome to L.A., LeBron James. See yourself out, LaVar Ball.," 2 July 2018 And fathers today want to be involved not just as breadwinners, but also as caregivers who provide nurturing and responsive parenting. Joyce Y. Lee And Shawna J. Lee, Houston Chronicle, "Study: Fathers are forgotten by parenting programs," 17 June 2018 Born into provincial circumstances, Paz works two nursing jobs and serves as the family’s breadwinner. Anita Felicelli, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘America Is Not the Heart,’ by Elaine Castillo," 25 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near breadwinner


bread tree

bread wheat





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Time Traveler for breadwinner

The first known use of breadwinner was in 1720

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English Language Learners Definition of breadwinner

: a person who earns money to support a family

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