Meaning of meal ticket

meal' tick"et

Pronunciation: [key]
  1. a ticket that entitles the bearer to meals in a specified restaurant, esp. when meals purchased in this manner are offered at reduced rates.
  2. someone upon whom one is dependent for one's income or livelihood: selfish children who look upon their father only as a meal ticket.
  3. something, as an object or ability possessed by a person, that is necessary to that person's livelihood: The radio announcer's voice was his meal ticket.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.