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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]

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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.