draw a welfare check


Senior Member
Hi, everyone!

What is the meaning of "draw a welfare check" in this sentence?

If their life is spent in hopeless poverty just drawing a welfare check..?

Draw =attract,paint(as I know)

Thank you:)
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    We use "draw" in a huge number of ways. Definition 25 :)eek:) of draw in the WordReference dictionary is:

    remove (a commodity) from (a supply source); "She drew $2,000 from the account"; "The doctors drew medical supplies from the hospital's emergency bank"

    I would say that this is the closest definition from our dictionary to the meaning in this context. A check is also called a "draft"; it allows someone to draw money out of the account. To draw a welfare check is to receive a welfare check. To me it also implies that it is a regular occurrence in this context, as in "drawing retirement."
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "Drawing" here means "receiving as an allotment". Workers may be said to "draw a paycheck" from their employers, while the person described is receiving money from the government.

    "Draw" can have many meanings besides attract or paint. For example, one draws water from a well (by dropping in a bucket and hauling it out), and horses may draw a wagon or a carriage (that is, they pull it.)


    Senior Member
    I have a question about a phrase where "draw" is similarly used. In Changing Places, David Lodge has one of the characters, Morris Zapp, on a plane from America to England. The passengers, all but him, are women going to the UK to have an abortion. The action takes place in the sixties.

    David Lodge writes, "But it is a different matter to find oneself trapped in an airplane with a hundred and fifty-five women actually drawing the wages of sin."

    The way he describes it, "drawing the wages of sin," you would think these women are actually prostitutes. Does the phrase make sense to you? If so, how?


    English - England
    In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Lodge_(author) we see
    Lodge was brought up as a Catholic and has described himself as an "agnostic Catholic". Many of his characters are Catholic and their Catholicism, and particularly the relationship between Catholicism and sexuality, is a major theme. The British Museum Is Falling Down (1965) and How Far Can You Go? (1980; published in the U.S. as Souls and Bodies) both examine the difficulties faced by orthodox Catholics due to the Church's prohibition on artificial contraception.
    and you say this is what a character, Morris Zap, in one of David Lodge's novels says. I suggest that this is Morris Zap's view and reading the book will explain it.


    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It doesn't suggest anything precise at first; but it sounds like a pun too good for a writer to resist. I'd have to analyse it and guess at its meaning: the wages of sin is death, the women sinned in getting pregnant, and now are going to cause a death. But then perhaps the sin and the death are the same action. As I said, the phrase doesn't clearly or idiomatically say what it means.


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Morris Zapp is described by Lodge as a "nominal atheist" who in his heart retains an"old-fashioned Judaeo-Christian fear of the Lord". His fear is that the abortion-seeking women with their doomed fetuses may be the target of divine retribution and the plane will made to crash.
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