cupboard is bare(redirected from cupboards are 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%.
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.
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.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017