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draw a blank Informal

Meaning: If you draw a blank, you get no response when you ask for something, or get no results when you search for something.

For example:

  • I did a search on the web for information about the company, but I drew a blank.

  • He said he tried to remember the date of the meeting, but he drew a blank and couldn't tell us.

Origin: This idiom is probably related to the fact that in some lotteries in Europe in the past, two boxes were used, with one containing slips of paper with the names of contestants written on them, and the other containing both slips of paper on which prizes were shown and blank slips on which nothing was shown. If a contestant's name was drawn from one box, and a blank slip was drawn from the other, the contestant didn't win a prize, and they had "drawn a blank".

Quick Quiz:

I searched in my computer for an hour, but I drew a blank so I
  1. will send you the drawing
  2. could e-mail you the blank
  3. can't give you the details

Discuss: draw a blank

Idiom of the Day

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