Bring Home the Bacon – Idiom, Origin & Meaning

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Let’s sink our teeth into a phrase that’s as tasty as it is intriguing: bring home the bacon. Now, before you start dreaming about sizzling breakfast goodness strips, let’s clarify what this phrase means in the world of idioms. I’ll even add a stack of sentence examples to help you out.

Bring Home the Bacon Meaning

Bring Home the Bacon Idiom Origin Meaning 1

If someone’s bringing home the bacon, they’re not necessarily making a grocery run. The phrase means earning a living, especially for someone’s family, or achieving success. So, if you’re bringing home the bacon, you’re the one who’s generating income or getting the job done. It’s all about putting bread on the table… or should I say, bacon?

Different Tenses to Use

Whether you’re bringing, brought, or even bring home the bacon, this phrase is delicious in any tense.

  • You need to bring home the bacon now that we have a kid.
  • She always brings home the bacon.
  • He brought home the bacon with that big promotion.

This phrase is as flexible as it is flavorful!

Bring Home the Bacon Origin and Etymology

Bring Home the Bacon Ngram
Bring home the bacon usage trend.

Though you might be tempted to believe this phrase originated from a time when people literally brought home bacon, it actually traces back to 12th-century England. A church in the town of Dunmow offered a side of bacon to any man who could swear he had not quarreled with his wife for a year and a day.

It was even used by Geoffrey Chaucer back in 1395, in his work “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” and prologue, “But never for us the flitch of bacon though, that some may win in Essex at Dunmow.”

The phrase eventually evolved to symbolize earning a living in general.

Synonyms for Bring Home the Bacon

If you don’t feel like putting a funny spin on the sentiment, try using any of these sayings that hold the same meaning.

  • Earn a living
  • Make ends meet
  • Keep the wolf from the door
  • Pull one’s weight
  • Make a killing
  • Win the day
  • Score a win

Bring Home the Bacon Examples in a Sentence

Bring Home the Bacon Idiom Origin Meaning 2

And here are those sentence examples I promised! You can see how this phrase can be used in different tenses. 

  • With my mom’s new job, she’s definitely bringing home the bacon.
  • My father brought home the bacon when he secured that deal.
  • They are all bringing home the bacon big time after his huge promotion.
  • If we want to keep our lifestyle, we must continue bringing the bacon home.
  • She brought home the bacon with her successful writing business.
  • Despite the odds stacked against him, Adam’s bringing home the bacon.
  • I’ve been bringing home the bacon since I got promoted at the firm.

Don’t Fry Your Brain; Just the Bacon!

And that’s a wrap for today’s flavorful phrase! Whether you’re frying up some bacon or grinding away at work, now you know another tasty tidbit of English language trivia. Always remember, there’s no such thing as a dull phrase, just dull interpretations.