Definition of Make Ends Meet

What does the term "make ends meet" mean? What is meant by making ends meet?

The term "make ends meet" refers to the idea of making as much money as you spend.

"Making ends meet" usually refers to people that are struggling to pay their bills without going into debt.

Dave explains the meaning of the financial term of Make Ends Meet.  Illustration.For instance:

"He had to work two jobs just to make ends meet"

According to the meaning of the term, this would mean that this person was presumably making enough to pay his bills without going into debt, albeit just barely.


The term is thought to be derived from the French expression coined by John Clarke, "joindre les deux bouts", which translates into "make both ends meet".

The ends, it was assumed, referred to income and expenditures.

If income equalled expenditures at the end of the year, you were said to be making the "ends meet".

-- Articles That Mention Make Ends Meet:

US Labor Market Continues To Struggle

What's That? Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.8%

NY Fed: Outstanding Student Loan Debt Rose to $904 Billion in Q1

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Outstanding Student Loan Debt Hit the Trillion Dollar Mark Months Ago

Here Come The Boomers