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 Caring for a child whose school is closed or dealing with the COVID-19 death of a primary breadwinner are other exceptions under the federal legislation. USA TODAY, "Unwanted masks, homeless count, pork processor cleared: News from around our 50 states," 25 June 2020 African Americans are more likely to work in jobs that can expose them to the virus, less likely to be able to take time off from work and more likely to be the sole breadwinner for their family. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "As states reopen, black workers are at greater risk for COVID-19," 16 June 2020 Santillan characterized herself as the breadwinner of her family, since her income renting out party equipment had long covered expenses for her husband and children. Rachel Swan,, "Bay Area public schools struggling to respond to next big health crisis: hungry kids," 14 June 2020 Meantime, the Pérez family is battling to get help from the government as the doctor was the sole breadwinner. Natalie Gallón, CNN, "'We're forgotten.' Mexico City paramedics say government failed to support them amid the pandemic," 11 June 2020 That means half of all mothers in America with children under age 18—and four out of five black mothers—are breadwinners. Shelly Banjo,, "A Decade’s Worth of Progress for Working Women Evaporated Overnight," 3 June 2020 The new set of challenges comes as more American families are likely to be dependent on a female breadwinner. Jennifer Medina, New York Times, "When Mom’s Zoom Meeting Is the One That Has to Wait," 22 Apr. 2020 The Palestinians defend the funds as income for families who have lost their breadwinners, but the Israelis say the practice rewards terrorism. Carole Landry, New York Times, "China Flare-up, Taiwan, Bangkok Pet Salons: Your Monday Briefing," 10 May 2020 Hernandez, who shares a two-bedroom apartment in Rosemead with six relatives, said most of the adults in her household had been laid off, leaving her mother the main breadwinner. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "Tens of thousands of California college students to get relief from emergency grants," 8 May 2020

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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breadwinner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Jul. 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

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