running on empty

Idioms & Phrases

running on empty

At the end of one's resources, out of money, as in I don't know how much longer we can live this waywe're running on empty with no jobs in sight. This idiom refers to a car running when the gas gauge indicates it is out of fuel. [Second half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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