run on empty

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

An allusion to a vehicle operating with the fuel gauge pointing to empty or near empty, likely to stop running in the very near future.

Verb[edit]

run on empty (third-person singular simple present runs on empty, present participle running on empty, simple past ran on empty, past participle run on empty)

  1. (idiomatic) To be losing enthusiasm or willingness; to lack motivation.
    He has been running on empty for a while. It's likely the project will be canceled.

See also[edit]