At loose ends

the last part or extremity, lengthwise, of anything that is longer than it is wide or broad:
the end of a street; the end of a rope.
a point, line, or limitation that indicates the full extent, degree, etc., of something; limit; bounds:
kindness without end; to walk from end to end of a city.
a part or place at or adjacent to an extremity:
at the end of the table; the west end of town.
the furthermost imaginable place or point:
an island at the very end of the world.
termination; conclusion:
The journey was coming to an end.
the concluding part:
The end of her speech had to be cut short because of time.
an intention or aim:
to gain one’s ends.
the object for which a thing exists; purpose:
The happiness of the people is the end of government.
an outcome or result:
What is to be the end of all this bickering?
termination of existence; death:
He met a horrible end.
a cause of death, destruction, or ruin:
Another war would be the end of civilization.
a remnant or fragment:
mill end; ends and trimmings.
a share or part in something:
He does his end of the job very well.
Textiles. a warp thread running vertically and interlaced with the filling yarn in the woven fabric.

either of the linemen stationed farthest from the center.
the position played by this lineman.

Archery. the number of arrows to be shot by a competitor during one turn in a match.
Cricket. a wicket, especially the one where the batsman is taking a turn.
a unit of a game, as in curling or lawn bowling.
Kantianism. any rational being, regarded as worthy to exist for its own sake.
either half of a domino.
Knots. the part of a rope, beyond a knot or the like, that is not used.
the end, Slang. the ultimate; the utmost of good or bad:
His stupidity is the end.
to bring to an end or conclusion:
We ended the discussion on a note of optimism.
to put an end to; terminate:
This was the battle that ended the war.
to form the end of:
This passage ends the novel.
to cause the demise of; kill:
A bullet through the heart ended him.
to constitute the most outstanding or greatest possible example or instance of (usually used in the infinitive):
You just committed the blunder to end all blunders.
to come to an end; terminate; cease:
The road ends at Rome.
to issue or result:
Extravagance ends in want.
to reach or arrive at a final condition, circumstance, or goal (often followed by up):
to end up in the army; to end as a happy person.
final or ultimate:
the end result.
at loose ends, without an occupation or plans; unsettled; uncertain:
He spent two years wandering about the country at loose ends.
at one’s wit’s end, at the end of one’s ideas or mental resources; perplexed:
I’m at my wit’s end with this problem.
Also, at one’s wits’ end.
end for end, in reverse position; inverted:
The cartons were turned end for end.
end on, with the end next to or facing:
He backed the truck until it was end on with the loading platform.
end to end, in a row with ends touching:
The pipes were placed end to end on the ground.
go off the deep end, Informal. to act in a reckless or agitated manner; lose emotional control:
She went off the deep end when she lost her job.
in the end, finally; after all:
In the end they shook hands and made up.
keep / hold one’s end up, to perform one’s part or share adequately:
The work is demanding, but he’s holding his end up.
make an end of, to conclude; stop:
Let’s make an end of this foolishness and get down to work.
make ends meet, to live within one’s means:
Despite her meager income, she tried to make ends meet.
Also, make both ends meet.
no end, Informal. very much or many:
They were pleased no end by the warm reception.
on end,

having the end down; upright:
to stand a box on end.
continuously; successively:
They talked for hours on end.

put an end to, to cause to stop; terminate; finish:
The advent of sound in motion pictures put an end to many a silent star’s career.
a part or piece left hanging, unattached, or unused:
Remind me to tack down that loose end on the stairway carpet.
an unsettled detail, as of a business matter:
The arrangements have been made, except for a few loose ends.
at loose ends, in an uncertain or unsettled situation or position:
Ever since leaving the company, he’s been at loose ends.
Also, at a loose end.
the extremity of the length of something, such as a road, line, etc
the surface at either extremity of a three-dimensional object
the extreme extent, limit, or degree of something
the most distant place or time that can be imagined: the ends of the earth
the time at which something is concluded

the last section or part
(as modifier): the end office, related adjectives final terminal ultimate

a share or part: his end of the bargain
(often pl) a remnant or fragment (esp in the phrase odds and ends)
a final state, esp death; destruction
the purpose of an action or existence
(sport) either of the two defended areas of a playing field, rink, etc
(bowls, curling) a section of play from one side of the rink to the other
(American football) a player at the extremity of the playing line; wing
all ends up, totally or completely
(informal, US & Canadian) a sticky end, an unpleasant death
at a loose end, (US & Canadian) at loose ends, without purpose or occupation
at an end, exhausted or completed
at the end of the day, See day (sense 10)
come to an end, to become completed or exhausted
end on

with the end pointing towards one
with the end adjacent to the end of another object

(informal) go off the deep end, to lose one’s temper; react angrily
(slang) get one’s end away, to have sexual intercourse
in the end, finally
keep one’s end up

to sustain one’s part in a joint enterprise
to hold one’s own in an argument, contest, etc

make ends meet, make both ends meet, to spend no more than the money one has
(informal) no end, no end of, (intensifier): I had no end of work
on end

without pause or interruption

(informal) the end

the worst, esp something that goes beyond the limits of endurance
(mainly US) the best in quality

the end of the road, the point beyond which survival or continuation is impossible
throw someone in at the deep end, to put someone into a new situation, job, etc, without preparation or introduction
to bring or come to a finish; conclude
to die or cause to die
(transitive) to surpass; outdo: a novel to end all novels
(informal) end it all, to commit suicide
(transitive) (Brit) to put (hay or grain) into a barn or stack
a detail that is left unsettled, unexplained, or incomplete
at a loose end, without purpose or occupation

Old English ende “end, conclusion, boundary, district, species, class,” from Proto-Germanic *andja (cf. Old Frisian enda, Old Dutch ende, Dutch einde, Old Norse endir “end;” Old High German enti “top, forehead, end,” German ende, Gothic andeis “end”), originally “the opposite side,” from PIE *antjo “end, boundary,” from root *ant- “opposite, in front of, before” (see ante).

Original sense of “outermost part” is obsolete except in phrase ends of the earth. Sense of “destruction, death” was in Old English. Meaning “division or quarter of a town” was in Old English. The end “the last straw, the limit” (in a disparaging sense) is from 1929.

The phrase end run is first attested 1902 in U.S. football; extended to military tactics in World War II; general figurative sense is from 1968. End time in reference to the end of the world is from 1917. To end it all “commit suicide” is attested by 1911. Be-all and end-all is from Shakespeare (“Macbeth” I.vii.5).

Worldly wealth he cared not for, desiring onely to make both ends meet. [Thomas Fuller, “The History of the Worthies of England,” 1662]


Old English endian, from the source of end (n.). Related: Ended; ending.


Discombobulated or without a clue: at loose ends when they aren’t around


A share; cut: Eddie would be entitled to half an end/ I muscle in for an end of the beer racket (1903+)
Particular concern or portion; sector: Selling’s his end of it (1909+)

Related Terms

go off the deep end, hind end, jump off the deep end, the living end, rear end, short end of the stick

in Heb. 13:7, is the rendering of the unusual Greek word _ekbasin_, meaning “outcome”, i.e., death. It occurs only elsewhere in 1 Cor. 10:13, where it is rendered “escape.”

In an unsettled or uncertain situation. For example, This whole visit has left me feeling restless, constantly at loose ends, or Jane couldn’t find a job this year and so is at loose ends for the summer. [ Mid-1800s ]

end game
end in itself
end justifies the means, the
end of one’s rope, at the
end of the line
end run
end to end
end up

also see:

all’s well that ends well
at loose ends
at one’s wit’s end
be-all and end-all
beginning of the end
bitter end
burn the candle at both ends
can’t see beyond the end of one’s nose
come to an end
dead end
go off the deep end
hair stand on end
hold one’s end up
in the end
light at the end of the tunnel
make ends meet
never hear the end of
odds and ends
on end
on the receiving end
play both ends against the middle
put an end to
rear end
short end (of the stick)
tail end
wrong end of the stick


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