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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from breadwinner

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

Examples of breadwinner in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such a solution will ensure the 16 million breadwinner moms that support 28 million children (nearly a third of whom are Black) are included in the workplace of the future. Christie Smith, Fortune, 1 July 2021 The 23-year-old teacher has become the primary caregiver and breadwinner for five of her siblings, between 4 and 14 years old, and a major pillar of strength for her eldest 20-year-old sister. Vedika Sud, Esha Mitra And Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, 11 June 2021 Whether it’s you or your spouse, the breadwinner isn’t the only one who may need life insurance. Erik Carter, Forbes, 21 June 2021 Meanwhile, Toby and Kate adjust to their new breadwinner-homemaker dynamic, and Kevin and Madison's wedding planning begins. Amanda Ostuni,, 7 Apr. 2021 Despite this country’s economic reliance on two-wage-earning and single-parent households, the workforce, and far too much political rhetoric, is still built around the notion that a family is made up of a breadwinner and a stay-at-home parent. Los Angeles Times, 25 May 2021 But the startup couldn’t compete on pay, and the employee had recently become the sole breadwinner for his family. Rachel Feintzeig, WSJ, 24 May 2021 Kaur, who immigrated to the US in 2018, was the breadwinner for her family, according to Girn. Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, 20 Apr. 2021 For instance, my own expectations about motherhood came right up against my responsibilities as a breadwinner. Chris Taylor Reuters, Star Tribune, 17 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of breadwinner

circa 1614, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About breadwinner

Time Traveler for breadwinner

Time Traveler

The first known use of breadwinner was circa 1614

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near breadwinner


bread tree

bread wheat





See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for breadwinner

Last Updated

13 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breadwinner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breadwinner



English Language Learners Definition of breadwinner

: a person who earns money to support a family

More from Merriam-Webster on breadwinner

Nglish: Translation of breadwinner for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breadwinner for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!