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 ?
Ours is not an all-or-nothing system, and the clear majority of Americans who opposed changing the rules just because a handful of nominees were going away empty-handed deserved to be heard and represented.
Another blessing was Tom Hanks going away empty-handed. I don't think I could have suffered another of his speeches.
"In any sporting contest, it is all about momentum, with a bit of luck we may have halted their momentum a little bit, and they may be a bit deflated at what might have come close to a win, but they ended up going away empty-handed.
''Few anglers showing a patient approach to nymph fishing are going away empty-handed and those using buzzer patterns and goldhead Montanas struck well and often, taking trout with an average weight just short of 2lb.''
They knew they would not be going away empty-handed. That would have been an embarrassment the FA might not have been able to live with if they were left scratching around for a second choice.