be running on empty

(redirected from was running on empty)

be running on empty

To continue to operate with no or very little enthusiasm, energy, or resources left. 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

be running on empty

1. If a person or organization is running on empty, they have no new ideas or resources and so are not as exciting or successful as they were previously. Recent performances suggest a band running on empty, delaying the inevitable. A lot of societies are running on empty — muddling through without any clear sense of direction.
2. If you are running on empty, you have no energy left, either because you have been working too hard over a long period or because you have not eaten for a long time. After reaching the ultimate goal of winning six world titles consecutively, the champion was running on empty. I had skipped breakfast and was running on empty. Note: In this expression, the idea is of a car or other vehicle that is still running but has very little fuel left, so the needle of the fuel gauge is pointing to `empty'.
See also: empty, on, running

be running on empty

have exhausted all your resources or sustenance.
1998 New Scientist Bateson concluded that a hunted deer may be running on empty for 90 minutes, but Harris argues that this period will be just a few minutes.
See also: empty, on, running