Idiom: Bring home the bacon
OED definition: Supply material support
Example: I have to go to work to bring home the bacon.
‘But never for us the flitch of bacon though, That some may win in Essex at Dunmow.’
The final suggestion is based on an extension of the meaning of ‘bacon’. The word ‘bacon’ comes from old French and German words for ‘back’. The terms was therefore frequently used to refer to someone’s body in general. One area where this idiom has become widely used is in the sport of boxing. In boxing, you body (or ‘bacon’) are key to your success and related fortune. There is indeed evidence of this expression being widely used to refer to boxing success at the beginning of the 20th century. On 3rd September 1906, Joe Gans and ‘Battling’ Oliver Nelson fought it out in the World Lightweight Championship. A newspaper article from The Post Standard the following day reported part of a telegram that Gans had received from his mother before the fight. She said:
“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.”
Gans success in the fight resulted in The New York Times printing a story with Gans’s rely to his mother. He told here that he:
’Had not only the bacon, but the gravy’.
He later sent his mother a cheque for $6,000.