What Does Bleed Someone Dry Mean?

Bleed Someone Dry Meaning

Definition: To use up all of something; to deplete.

If something living were to run out of blood, it would die. Therefore, the phrase to bleed someone or something dry refers to exhausting resources totally, to the point of no return.

To bleed someone or something dry most often refers to financial resources, but it can refer to depleting other resources as well.

For example, repeatedly taking money from someone else may “bleed” away all of that person’s financial security. It would leave him with no money left to take care of his own expenses.

Origin of Bleed Someone Dry

I bleed myself dryLike many idioms, there is no exact known origin of this phrase. The primary belief is that it refers to the process of bloodletting done in ancient medical practices.

Doctors who practiced bloodletting believed their patients would gain health by losing blood. They would either make a large cut so that their patients bled out, or they would attach a leech to suck the blood out of their patients.

Of course, doctors would not want their patients to bleed dry because doing so would kill them.

Examples of Bleed Someone (Something) Dry

someone bled dryTo bleed something dry means that all of something is being drained away from it.

Most commonly, this phrase refers to loaning money. If a friend has borrowed from you on several occasions and has not paid you back, you may tell him or her,

  • I can’t lend you money for dinner tonight! You are bleeding me dry!

You may feel very frustrated with this friend for constantly borrowing from you. You may even tell him or her,

  • You are bleeding my patience dry!

In this case, you are telling the friend that you are running out of patience for his or her behavior.

More Examples

  • Britain is pressing for a European pledge not to impose tariffs on African countries should they refuse to sign the agreements by Dec. 31, and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said Saturday that Europe should not “bleed dry” poor countries. –New York Times
  • “For years, Galanis’ corrupt agenda has been to bleed dry an investment vehicle or loot a financial institution and then to leave it in ruins while he moved on to the next victim,” according to a report issued… –LA Times


The phrase to bleed someone or something dry is to take everything from that person or thing.