go away empty-handed

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go away empty-handed

To return from an experience or event without having gained anything. I worked so hard to prepare for the competition, and I still went away empty-handed, thanks to another fourth-place finish. Don't go away from the dessert table empty-handed—bring me a piece of cake!
See also: away, go
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

go away empty-handed

Fig. to depart with nothing. I hate for you to go away empty-handed, but I cannot afford to contribute any money. They came hoping for some food, but they had to go away empty-handed.
See also: away, go
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in periodicals archive ?
But no Bafta nominee goes away empty-handed. They all get a gift bag stuffed full of top-of-the-range goodies including a limited-edition Anya Hindmarch bag, a designer scarf, champagne truffles and beauty products.
Sandy shed blood for the team and now goes away empty-handed.
But if both choose selfishness, each goes away empty-handed.