Loose end



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.
Contemporary Examples

Burnett said that Aguigui called the killings a “loose end.”
Facts About the Anarchist Militia Who Plotted to Overthrow Obama Matthew DeLuca August 27, 2012

“A loose end is one way that Isaac put it,” said Burnett at his guilty-plea hearing.
Inside the Georgia Militia Murders Caitlin Dickson September 19, 2013

Historical Examples

I shouldn’t be just somebody he remembered when he was at a loose end—now.
The Tower of Oblivion Oliver Onions

“I have it with me,” replied Sallette, shaking the loose end of the bag.
Stories Of Georgia Joel Chandler Harris

In struggling to regain his grip on the plane, he lost the loose end of his leggins.
Bill Bruce on Forest Patrol Henry Harley Arnold

Yet I felt guilty, and was afraid to look at him, and remained at a loose end all day.
Boyhood Leo Tolstoy

One of the hands, who had been ordered aloft on some errand of securing a loose end, presented a curious sight.
The Cruise of the Cachalot Frank T. Bullen

After all, I reflected, I was at a loose end, and where I went did not matter to anybody.
The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol William J. Locke

The crew maneuvered until they came along side the target and then caught the loose end of the cable.
Bill Bruce on Forest Patrol Henry Harley Arnold

He struck the horse over the flank with the loose end of the halter rein.
In the Midst of Alarms Robert Barr

noun
a detail that is left unsettled, unexplained, or incomplete
at a loose end, without purpose or occupation

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