cupboard is bare

cupboard is bare

1. Literally, there is no or very little food in the house. Often pluralized. I wish I had something to offer you to eat, but we haven't done our grocery shopping this week, and I'm afraid the cupboards are bare.
2. By extension, resources—especially money—are very tight or nonexistent. Often pluralized. The government has promised to help alleviate the strain on those out of work, but I don't know how it will accomplish that when its own cupboards are bare. The school district's cupboard is bare after federal funding was cut by 20%.
See also: bare, cupboard
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cupboard is bare, the

The desired resources are not available, as in The schools are asking for a budget increase but the cupboard is bare. This metaphoric expression may have come from the nursery rhyme: "Old Mother Hubbard, went to the cupboard, to fetch her poor dog a bone, And when she went there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none" (Sarah Catherine Martin, The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard, 1805).
See also: cupboard
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

the cupboard is bare

If the cupboard is bare, everything has been used and there is nothing available. The cost of supporting these countries means that the international community's cupboard is bare.
See also: bare, cupboard
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

the ˌcupboard is ˈbare

(British English) used to say that there is no money for something: They are seeking more funds but the cupboard is bare.This expression refers to a children’s nursery rhyme about Old Mother Hubbard, who had nothing in her cupboard to feed her dog.
See also: bare, cupboard
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Our cupboard is bare!" It takes around PS1.4m to keep the doors open at the hospice, which has been caring for babies and young children with life-limiting conditions since 2004.
We might have the super managers in the Premier League but if you are looking for top level, European titlewinning experience from our leading clubs the cupboard is bare.
Digging deeper into the history of the 20th century, the same, lame "cupboard is bare" excuses were trotted out when Liverpool needed to rebuild the damage done to the Docks during WW2.
I have applied for a grant to cover this event but the cupboard is bare. I can be contacted by e-mail: gerry.
Hospice fundraiser Kate Leadbeater said: "We will be organising our spring fair, an It's a Knockout competition, a golf day and our Midnight Memory Walk in the coming months - but at this stage the cupboard is bare!" She said: "While people are snowed in at home, we would urge them to do some early spring cleaning and look out their unwanted Christmas presents.
The cupboard is bare, the people crave a General Election and that promised referendum on the thinly disguised European Constitution.
The truth of the matter is that while Beckham and Sven do their Old Mother Hubbard routine, the cupboard is bare of jars labelled Convenient Excuses (just add water), the England rugby team can look at their employers with enquiring looks.
Her response is to tell him that the cupboard is bare. After all, there is a famine going on.
"If you go to the cupboard and the cupboard is bare, it's going to be very difficult to satisfy new demands," said Green.
While pharmacists understand that the burden must be shared by all interests to help states meet their fiscal responsibilities, many also warn that the cupboard is bare, that cuts being made will jeopardize patient well-being in long term care facilities.
Asking parents to save or spend money on routine medical care for their children when the rent is due and the cupboard is bare will ultimately doom SDHPs to failure.
Want to remember which kitchen cupboard is bare? Just urinate on it.
I consider that the Scots have a right to the oil and the money it generates, because people like Cameron and Osborne wont stick up to the EU and tell them the cupboard is bare here.
She sits by the fireside embers are low it won't be long now and your daddy will show but time passes by as she watches the clock I wish he'd come home and not stay down the Docks he's probably drinking with his workmates, the fool, I've had enough of his working to rule there's no food on the table the cupboard is bare he's stuck in the alehouse he doesn't care.
He told BBC TV that public spending had to be reduced as "the cupboard is bare".