There is a proverb with meaning "although the resource is almost empty, we still try to get something from it, regardless of that our attempts are most likely meaningless". I recall that I've heard a saying "squeezing out of a dead man" in this case, but now this sounds a bit weird and I can't google any examples.

Is there any proverb which can be identified by my explanation?


You are probably looking for "you can't squeeze blood from a turnip":

  • You can only get from people what they are willing or able to give.


  • I haven't heard it before but it sounds good. May I use it as "Doing smth is actually squeezing blood from a turnip"? – Ivan Smirnov Oct 30 '16 at 18:44
  • @IvanSmirnov - yes you can. – user5267 Oct 30 '16 at 19:09
  • 4
    The very similar "can't get blood from a stone" is also common. – 1006a Oct 30 '16 at 22:37

While it's not exactly a proverb, I'd like to mention the verbal construct “to squeeze the last [resource] from [source]” (occasionally with out of instead of from). The resource is given in its smallest denomination possible; e.g., drops if the resource is a liquid, cents or pennies if it is money.


  • The taxpayer was squeezing the last cents from the poor.
  • We squeezed the last bit of information from the book.
  • I tried to squeeze the last drop of water from the towel.

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