Bare necessities



Just sufficient resources, with nothing to spare. For example, The room was furnished with just the bare necessities—bed, table, chair. This idiom uses bare in the sense of “mere, and nothing else,” a usage dating from about 1200.
Contemporary Examples

Each month, he receives ¥300 ($50) in welfare payments, an amount insufficient to cover the bare necessities.
China Propagandizes Rape Of Nanjing Survivors Brendon Hong December 28, 2013

There is a huge shortage of the bare necessities for living any sort of decent life.
My Gaza Flotilla Diary Henning Mankell June 3, 2010

Historical Examples

However closely you confine yourself to the bare necessities, be sure to include one luxury.
Camp and Trail Stewart Edward White

He assured me it was impossible; that we had only sufficient for bare necessities.
How I Know God Answers Prayer Rosalind Goforth

The poor wives get only enough for bare necessities, and yet they patiently work and mend and cook and sew.
Evening Round Up William Crosbie Hunter

We were not much better off in the bare necessities of life.
Life in an Indian Outpost Gordon Casserly

There was the bare necessities; there was no playpen or crib for the baby.
Warren Commission (2 of 26): Hearings Vol. II (of 15) The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy

You keep nothing for yourself—you have only bare necessities.
Modern Prose And Poetry; For Secondary Schools Various

Why, at one time (and not so long ago) we were without the bare necessities of life itself.
Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 156, June 18, 1919 Various

He is not accustomed to plant more than will supply the bare necessities of life.
The Manbos of Mindano John M. Garvan

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  • Bare off

    to hold up; support: to bear the weight of the roof. to hold or remain firm under (a load): The roof will not bear the strain of his weight. to bring forth (young); give birth to: to bear a child. to produce by natural growth: a tree that bears fruit. to hold up under; be […]

  • Bare one’s soul

    Reveal one’s most private thoughts and feelings. For example, Teenagers rarely bare their souls to their parents; they prefer their peers. This figurative use of the verb bare, which literally means “make bare” or “uncover,” dates from a.d. 1000.



  • Bare on

    to hold up; support: to bear the weight of the roof. to hold or remain firm under (a load): The roof will not bear the strain of his weight. to bring forth (young); give birth to: to bear a child. to produce by natural growth: a tree that bears fruit. to hold up under; be […]

  • Bare one’s teeth

    Also, show one’s teeth. Indicate hostility and readiness to fight, as in His refusal to accept my offer made it clear I’d have to bare my teeth, or In this instance, calling in a lawyer is showing one’s teeth. This figurative term transfers the snarl of a dog to human anger. It first was recorded […]



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