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.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.