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Difference between Be empty-handed and Have one’s hands full

be empty-handed

1. having received or gained nothing:

  • Due to three successive droughts, most farmers are emptyhanded.

2. be unarmed:

  • You will learn not only to use weapons, but also to defend against someone who has one while you are empty-handed.

have one’s hands full—have much work to do; be very busy:

  • The plumber had his hands full and could not take another job for two weeks.