live off the fat of the land

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beachboy

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"John is living off the fat of the land"

I can't feel exactly what this expression means. I mean, I don't know if it necessarily implies a negative connotation (on the part of the speaker), if it always suggests some kind of criticism, or what other feelings may be involved. Thanks in advance.
 

mykwyner

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"Living off the fat of the land," means being sustained by the things around you rather than toiling for a living. It is often used sarcastically to describe someone who is being supported by another's hard work.
 

beachboy

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Thanks a lot! I've googled something recently and came across this expression with this guy referring to Jack Nicholson, Robert de Niro and Al Pacino as actors who "were living off the fat of the land", and found it really strange... Kind of puzzled me...
 

mykwyner

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Well, it doesn't necessarily mean that they are living off someone else's labor. In some cases it means that someone is living the good life without putting out much effort. That may be the result of someone else's work, or that same person's hard hard work and success in the past.
 
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