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live on your wits | live by your wits

This page is about the idiom live on your wits | live by your wits


If you live on your wits, or live by your wits, you don't have a regular job but you survive by cleverly manipulating people or situations.

For example

  • These homeless kids have to learn how to live on their wits, and a lot of them are very smart.

  • Kyle is a very good businessman, but he never went to university. He says he learned most of his business skills when he was young and still living by his wits.

Quick Quiz

Jamal had to learn to live on his wits because

a. he wasn't very smart

b. he didn't have the chance to get a normal job

c. he was too lazy to work

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey