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The meaning and origin of the expression: Eaten out of house and home

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Eaten out of house and home

Origin

Portrait of William ShakespeareThis is one of the phrases that, while having been long attributed to Shakespeare, was in fact used earlier by others and has now been demoted to 'popularised by' rather than 'coined by' the bard. There is a definition of the expression in Thomas Cooper's glossary Thesaurus Linguae Romanae Britannicae, 1578:

To eate out of house and home: to waste and consume his substance, money etc.

Shakespeare picked this up in Henry IV Part II, 1597:

MISTRESS QUICKLY:
It is more than for some, my lord; it is for all, all I have. He hath eaten me out of house and home; he hath put all my substance into that fat belly of his: but I will have some of it out again, or I will ride thee o' nights like the mare.

The expression 'house and home' denoting a person's (i.e. man's) dwelling place dates back to the beginnings of the language andis used in many contexts. It appears in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, 1129.

See other - phrases and sayings from Shakespeare.