Definition of empty-handed in English:



  • Having failed to obtain or achieve what one wanted.

    ‘the burglars fled empty-handed’
    • ‘He is more or less a professional hunter, but even he has been known to return from a goose hunt empty-handed.’
    • ‘The man and boy were later spotted returning to the scene at around 7pm, only to be seen running away empty-handed.’
    • ‘As has as often been told, however, the soldiers could not catch their quarry and returned empty-handed.’
    • ‘He lived by his philosophy of coming into the world empty-handed and likewise going out empty-handed.’
    • ‘Police today praised two elderly residents at a sheltered housing complex who sent bogus callers packing empty-handed.’
    • ‘The front door was rammed open, but the cash machine had been emptied earlier and the would-be thieves left empty-handed.’
    • ‘She was pinned to the wall as one tried to grab her handbag but she managed to fend off her attacker and the gang fled towards the bus station empty-handed.’
    • ‘The winners will all receive great prizes, but nobody leaves empty-handed.’
    • ‘No-one who enters this year's competition will go away empty-handed.’
    • ‘And if we had come out empty-handed it would not have been a very good thing.’
    • ‘One of the tricksters managed to get into the couple's home, before leaving shortly afterwards empty-handed.’
    • ‘They fled empty-handed, unable to get past the reinforced screens which have been put up following previous attacks.’
    • ‘But the alarm sounding panicked the defendant, and he ran off empty-handed.’
    • ‘I may not have won a prize, but I took enough pictures to ensure I didn't come home completely empty-handed.’
    • ‘Hundreds of pensioners across the borough had to go empty-handed - because post offices had no money to pay them.’
    • ‘The unnamed woman lost no money in the incident because the mugger fled empty-handed, but she was left bruised and nervous.’
    • ‘Hall, who took up the sport competitively only five years ago, did not leave the championships empty-handed.’
    • ‘The pensioner shouted for help, causing the man to flee empty-handed.’
    • ‘No one was injured during either robbery, the first of which saw the suspect being chased out of the shop empty-handed.’
    • ‘But they left empty-handed after failing to break through the side of the shop.’
    • ‘The men ran away across the car park and made their escape empty-handed.’