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Idiom of the day: Draw A Blank

Average: 3.4 (17 votes)

What does "draw a blank mean"?

Meaning: to fail to get an answer or a result; be unsuccessful.

You draw a blank when you attempt to recall something and fail, or when you try to come up with a solution to a problem and can't think of one. This expression finds its origins in Tudor England, when the first national lottery was established by Queen Elizabeth the First in 1567. The lottery worked by putting slips of paper with the participants names on them into a pot, while an equal number of slips, some with prizes on them and some left blank, were put into another pot. Pairs of tickets were drawn simultaneously from the pots, matching a participant to a prize. More often than not, however, a blank slip was drawn, and the participant won nothing!

Example sentences

"He asked me for my phone number and I drew a blank - I couldn't remember it."

"I asked her about her relationship problems, and I just drew a blank".

"The police investigated the case, but drew a blank".

Now tell us about a time when you drew a blank!

Link: Idioms of the day: "Don't rub it in!" & "Get my head around!"