30 Mar. When should I use the English expression “to bring home the bacon?”
This is an English expression which is used metaphorically and principally in informal situations. It does not necessarily have to relate to bacon, or even to food, and in general it is used less literally.
The expression is used to denote the earning of money. Generally it is used to the act of being successful, particularly in a financial sense and thus being able to provide for a family.
There is no consensus on the origins of this expression although it is often argued that it dates approximately to the year 1395 in a work by Geoffrey Chaucer. In his The Wife of Bath’s Tale and Prologue he alludes to the expression through the phrase “but never for us the flitch of bacon though,that some may win in Essex at Dunmow.”
Despite this early usage of a similar expression, the modern expression “to being home the bacon” only came into use in the 20th century and was coined in the United States. This first usage can be found in The Post-Standard from September 1906 which reads “Before the fight Gans received a telegram from his mother: “Joe, the eyes of the world are on you. Everybody says you ought to win. Peter Jackson will tell me the news and you bring home the bacon.”
An example of this expression can be found in a quote from the American comedian, Stephen Colbert. He is quoted to have said “If women are breadwinners and men bring home the bacon, why do people complain about having no dough? I’m confused. Also hungry.”