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

Many became the breadwinners in families that couldn’t depend on a husband’s salary alone to survive. Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Sex Abuse is Rampant in North Korea, Reports Say," 31 Oct. 2018 Ismail was the main breadwinner in his household because his father has been unable to fish since suffering a slipped disk. Alexandra Zavis,, "In Gaza Strip protests, the anger has many targets," 14 May 2018 With three children to raise and no husband to provide for them, my mother became the sole breadwinner. Peter Rezk, Teen Vogue, "America’s Criminal Justice System Is Failing Young People Like Me. Clean Slate Laws Are the Answer," 14 Dec. 2018 As traditionally male sectors like mining and manufacturing are shrinking, more women are stepping into the role of primary breadwinner, in growing sectors like health and education. The Voorhes, Glamour, "I'm a Woman in a Battleground State. Here's What Politicians Don't Understand About Me.," 21 Aug. 2018 Maleni is the breadwinner in the relationship — not that this dissuades Chicklet from fronting to the ‘gram with hundreds that don’t even belong to him. Patricia Hernandez, The Verge, "When this Instagram couple has vicious fights, millions of people tune in," 31 Aug. 2018 Their income disparity flips on its head the societal norm that says men in heterosexual relationships should be the breadwinners. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "What will become of the engagement ring Pete Davidson gave Ariana Grande?," 15 Oct. 2018 These pay disparities gravely affect Black women, who are increasingly likely to be the primary breadwinners for their households. Jenn M. Jackson, Teen Vogue, "Black Women's Labor in America Has Always Been Exploited," 7 Aug. 2018 More than 40 percent of mothers in the U.S. are family breadwinners. Jenna Sauers, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Women Really Quit Breastfeeding," 17 July 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





Statistics for breadwinner

Last Updated

15 Feb 2019

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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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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

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to express emotion in a dramatic way

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