cupboard is bare

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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. © 2015 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 ?
Dishes to satisfy all the family, even when the cupboards are bare. Nadiya shows us how to make dishes for 'Nothing-In-The-House Days', including a Fruit Salad Fattoush, Ginger Rice with Spicy Chickpeas and Avocado Pasta with Peas.
The cupboards are bare and Vincent is tasked with rushing to the shops for tea but after repeating his shopping list only once a gust of wind blows it right out of his hand and off into the sky.
THE cupboards are bare. Unless you count the unopened economy-size jar of Traditional Mincemeat (a blend of fresh apples, fine fruits and spices), four bags of flour (buy two, get two free), and a refrigerator full of black cherry yogurts.
CBS execs say they're simply experimenting with program strategies at UPN, where the cupboards are bare anyway.