the conclusion of a difficult or unpleasant situation; the last or furthest extremity:
Despite the unpleasant scenes in the movie, she insisted on staying until the bitter end.
the inboard end of an anchor chain or cable, secured in the chain locker of a vessel.
the end of any chain or cable.
Pieces of Hate Heywood Broun
(nautical) the end of a line, chain, or cable, esp the end secured in the chain locker of a vessel
to the bitter end, until the finish of a task, job, or undertaking, however unpleasant or difficult
until final defeat or death
Bitter end of the Cable, the End which is wound about the Bitts. [“The News-Readers Pocket-Book: Or, a Military Dictionary,” London, 1759]
See bit (n.1). So, when a cable is played out to the bitter end, there is no more left to play. The term began to be used c.1835 in non-nautical use and with probable influence of bitter (adj.).
The last extremity; also, death or ruin. For example, I’m supporting the union’s demands to the bitter end, or Even though they fight a lot, I’m sure Mom and Dad will stay together to the bitter end. The source of this term may have been nautical, a bitter being a turn of a cable around posts, or bitts, on a ship’s deck, and the bitter end meaning “the part of the cable that stays inboard.” Thus, when a rope is paid out to the bitter end, no more remains. [ Mid-1800s ]
a person who persists until the bitter end without compromising or yielding; diehard.
an Old World herb, Centaurium erythraea, used dried in medicine as a tonic. the turtlehead, Chelone glabra, used in medicine as a tonic, cathartic, and anthelmintic. Judaism. an herb that tastes bitter, as horseradish, traditionally eaten at the Seder, and serving as a reminder of the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt.
a salt lake containing in solution a high concentration of sulfates, carbonates, and chlorides. two lakes in NE Egypt, forming part of the Suez Canal. plural noun two lakes, the Great Bitter Lake and Little Bitter Lake in NE Egypt: part of the Suez Canal