have (something) to show for (something)

(redirected from have nothing to show for it)

have (something) to show for (something)

To have something one can display or point to as the result of one's work, effort, expenditure, etc. I gave up my career in advertising to become a writer, and I have only one thing to show for it: a stack of books no one wants to buy. We've been working on this project for months, and we still have nothing to show for our effort.
See also: have, show
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

have to show for

Be able to exhibit as a result of one's work or expenditure. For example, I've been working all day and I have absolutely nothing to show for it, or He has some very fine paintings to show for the vast amount of money he's spent. This idiom was first recorded in 1727.
See also: have, show
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.

have something, nothing, little, etc. to ˈshow for something

have or produce something, etc. as a result of your efforts, work, etc: Students who fail the final exam have nothing to show for years of hard work.
See also: have, show, something
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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