running on empty


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running on empty

Continuing to operate with no or very little enthusiasm, energy, or resources left. A reference to a car that has nearly run out of fuel. I've been painting the house for four hours every night after work, and I am seriously running on empty at this point. We were running on empty by the time our team made it to the championship round.
See also: empty, on, running

running on empty

At the end of one's resources, out of money, as in I don't know how much longer we can live this way-we're running on empty with no jobs in sight . This idiom refers to a car running when the gas gauge indicates it is out of fuel. [Second half of 1900s]
See also: empty, on, running

running on empty

At the end of one’s resources. This twentieth-century Americanism alludes to an automobile about to run out of gas, with the gauge indicating that the tank is empty. The expression gained currency with Jackson Browne’s popular song “Runnin’ on Empty” (1978).
See also: empty, on, running