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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 way—we'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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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