have to show for

(redirected from have something to show for)

have (something) to show for (something)

To have something one can display or point to as the result of one's work, effort, expenditure, etc. I gave up my career in advertising to become a writer, and the only thing I've got to show for it is a huge debt and stack of books no one wants to buy. We've been working on this project for months, and we still have nothing to show for our effort.
See also: have, show

have to show for

Be able to exhibit as a result of one's work or expenditure. For example, I've been working all day and I have absolutely nothing to show for it, or He has some very fine paintings to show for the vast amount of money he's spent. This idiom was first recorded in 1727.
See also: have, show
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