make do

make do

Meaning

  • to cope with something even though the circumstances are not ideal
  • to live with the insufficient or unsatisfactory resources available
  • to manage as well as you possibly can with what you have been given
  • to manage (get along) with whatsoever is available

The phrase is typically followed by “without or with”.

Example Sentences

  1. I will make do without all of the research and send you a proposal by the end of the day.
  2. We will have to make do with Peter in our team, even though he rarely shows up for class.
  3. We don’t have potato for the stew, we will have to make do with the vegetables that we do have.
  4. Jone had to make do with what was available in his house.
  5. Since the new museum has no washroom, visitors have to make do with the only public toilet close by.
  6. Sorry Jack! You have to make do with the last slice of Pizza.
  7. Back in the times past, we made do with a tiny house.
  8. The winner team made do and hung in there with what they had.
  9. During the snowy months in Canada the white-tailed deer makes do with the dry leaves.
  10. He is not rich, but is innovative and makes do with what he can get, fix or build himself.

Origin

The idiom has been used since the early 1900s. It is said that it has been used since the 1700s, but no definitive proof of that could be found.

It seems as if the idiom may have ben derived from the phrase “make-do”. It is also said that it is the shortened version of the phrase “make it do”.

She would make it do somehow or other.

One of the earliest examples that can be found is from a recipe that was printed in the Keowee Ctourier (August 4, 1849):

BEET ROOT VINEGAR. – Many families purchase their vinegar at a very considerable annual expense; some “make do” with a very indifferent article …

Synonyms

  • scrape by
  • get by
  • get along
  • manage
  • cope or survive
  • muddle through
  • make the best of a bad job
  • improvise
  • make ends meet
  • keep the wolf from the door
  • keep head above water
  • shift for oneself

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