Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

  

English definition of “be running on empty”

be running on empty

informal
to continue to work and be active when you have no energy left : I get the impression he's been running on empty for months now. A holiday will do him good.Effort and expending energyTrying and making an effort mainly US and Australian English If a person or an organization is running on empty , they have no new ideas or are not as effective as they were before: The fund-raising campaign was running on empty after ten years under the same leader .Failing and doing badly
(Definition of be running on empty from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Effort and expending energy, but you might be interested in these topics from the Working topic area:

Translations of “be running on empty”

Word of the Day

familiarity

a good knowledge of something, or the fact that you know it so well

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More