the cupboard is 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%.
See also: bare, cupboard
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, 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.
See also: bare, cupboard
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.
See also: bare, cupboard
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
We might have the super managers in the Premier League but if you are looking for top level, European titlewinning experience from our leading clubs the cupboard is bare.
I consider that the Scots have a right to the oil and the money it generates, because people like Cameron and Osborne wont stick up to the EU and tell them the cupboard is bare here.
She sits by the fireside embers are low it won't be long now and your daddy will show but time passes by as she watches the clock I wish he'd come home and not stay down the Docks he's probably drinking with his workmates, the fool, I've had enough of his working to rule there's no food on the table the cupboard is bare he's stuck in the alehouse he doesn't care.
I have applied for a grant to cover this event but the cupboard is bare. I can be contacted by e-mail: gerry.
Hospice fundraiser Kate Leadbeater said: "We will be organising our spring fair, an It's a Knockout competition, a golf day and our Midnight Memory Walk in the coming months - but at this stage the cupboard is bare!" She said: "While people are snowed in at home, we would urge them to do some early spring cleaning and look out their unwanted Christmas presents.
The cupboard is bare, the people crave a General Election and that promised referendum on the thinly disguised European Constitution.
The truth of the matter is that while Beckham and Sven do their Old Mother Hubbard routine, the cupboard is bare of jars labelled Convenient Excuses (just add water), the England rugby team can look at their employers with enquiring looks.
Her response is to tell him that the cupboard is bare. After all, there is a famine going on.
"If you go to the cupboard and the cupboard is bare, it's going to be very difficult to satisfy new demands," said Green.
While pharmacists understand that the burden must be shared by all interests to help states meet their fiscal responsibilities, many also warn that the cupboard is bare, that cuts being made will jeopardize patient well-being in long term care facilities.
Asking parents to save or spend money on routine medical care for their children when the rent is due and the cupboard is bare will ultimately doom SDHPs to failure.
I like the Obamas but a state visit when the cupboard is bare is not on.
A leaked memo from the Army's land headquarters in Wiltshire earlier this year said "the cupboard is bare" in terms of spare parts and some weapons.
GIANLUCA VIALLI admitted last night the cupboard is bare at Chelsea, after lowering his sights to signing a striker on LOAN.