In India, when someone doesn't feel like working but still has to, one jokingly uses a Hindi phrase which translates to - "I have to do it for the evil-doer stomach" which implies one can't survive without earning livelihood and to earn that, one has to do work. I'm sure there is an English equivalent of this phrase. Does anyone have any idea?

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    Where I'm from, this phenomenon is often referred to as life. – oerkelens Mar 20 '14 at 9:55
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    @oerkelens Where I come from, there is an idiom for this which I described in the question description. – Sandeep D Mar 20 '14 at 9:57
  • @SandeepDhamija do you mean paapi pet ka sawaal hai [Hindi]? – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 10:06
  • @SandeepDhamija check the answer down. If you feel the other one better, I'll delete it. – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 10:18
  • @MaulikV You don't have to remove it. It's just that I was looking for an equivalent idiom. Not for a translation. – Sandeep D Mar 20 '14 at 10:19

Not quite equivalent but try:

I've got to bring home the bacon.

Unfortunately that will be out of favor in many parts of the world where they don't eat pork, but in the US it means that I have to work so I can feed my family.

  • -1 I'm sorry. I'm an Indian and I understand the question better. It's not bringing home the bacon. That Hindi phrase means he's not willing (often forcefully or in negation) to go to job or earn money but there's no any other way to feed the family or himself. You attempted good but I downvoted for the sole reason that if a Hindi speakers reads and learns from this answer, they may misinterpret and speak it wrongly. – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 10:05
  • @MaulikV An idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning owing to its common usage. An idiom's figurative meaning is separate from the literal meaning. src- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiom – Sandeep D Mar 20 '14 at 10:13
  • Unfortunately that will be out of favor in many parts of the world where they don't eat pork - true! But there is a solution! In such case, use bread instead of bacon! – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 10:19
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    @MaulikV I think you are mixing up 'earning the bread' with 'bringing home the bacon'. Idioms are figurative, so there is no question of 'substituting' one word for another. For example take : 'cross the Rubicon'. Just because I am an Indian, I can't make it: 'cross the Ganga'. – Adil Ali Mar 20 '14 at 11:15
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    We say for example, 'The early bird gets the worm'. Just because we are not birds or that we do not like worms, we cannot change the idiom! – Adil Ali Mar 20 '14 at 11:44

How about this? :

I want to quit my job, but I can't, as I have to make both ends meet for my family.

  • Family is never a concern. When you say paapi pet ka sawaal in Hindi, it's only you in fact! – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 11:31
  • That doesn't change anything. I was just illustrating the usage of the phrase 'make both ends meet'. – Adil Ali Mar 20 '14 at 11:37
  • That does. It means that if you don't have family, you probably quit the job! Putting as...for you are giving the reason of your helplessness of not quitting job! – Maulik V Mar 20 '14 at 11:39
  • Then I could use, I want to quit my job, but I can't, as I have to make both ends meet for me. – Adil Ali Mar 23 '14 at 10:15
  • @AdilAli: drop "for me" in that case. It's fine (and I'd say preferable) to just say "I have to make both ends meet". You'd only say "for me" if you were in a context like this argument, when you're contrasting it with making ends meet for more than just yourself. – Steve Jessop Jul 11 '14 at 9:34

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