keep body and soul together

keep body and soul together


  • manage to stay alive with very little money
  • earn barely enough to keep you alive
  • just be able to pay for the basic necessities of life – food, clothing and a place to live
  • to survive or exist, especially in difficult circumstances

Example Sentences

  1. When he first came to the city, he earned barely enough to keep body and soul together.
  2. John said he would not be able to keep body and soul together on the salary he was being offered by that company.
  3. Artists and writers often do not earn enough to be able to keep body and soul together. They need a second job to sustain themselves.
  4. With rising costs and dwindling income, she had to take up two jobs to keep body and soul together.
  5. Those workers worked long hours in toxic conditions just to be able to keep body and soul together.
  6. He did not earn enough from his job to keep body and soul together, so he took up a small side business in order to supplement his income.

This phrase alludes to the belief that the soul gives life to the body and life continues as long as the soul inhabits the body. It has been used since the early 1700s.

K 1 Thought

1 Thought

What figure of speech is this expression “keep body and soul together”.

- Christiana December 12, 2017

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Idiom of the Day

leaps and bounds

Meaning: progress very quickly

Example: Regan's reading skills are coming on in leaps and bounds with the new teacher. Read on


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