loose end

loose end

loose end SynonymsWord Origin noun

  1. a part or piece left hanging, unattached, or unused: Remind me to tack down that loose end on the stairway carpet.
  2. an unsettled detail, as of a business matter: The arrangements have been made, except for a few loose ends.


  1. 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.

Origin of loose end First recorded in 1540–50 end 1[end] noun

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. a part or place at or adjacent to an extremity: at the end of the table; the west end of town.
  4. the furthermost imaginable place or point: an island at the very end of the world.
  5. termination; conclusion: The journey was coming to an end.
  6. the concluding part: The end of her speech had to be cut short because of time.
  7. an intention or aim: to gain one’s ends.
  8. the object for which a thing exists; purpose: The happiness of the people is the end of government.
  9. an outcome or result: What is to be the end of all this bickering?
  10. termination of existence; death: He met a horrible end.
  11. a cause of death, destruction, or ruin: Another war would be the end of civilization.
  12. a remnant or fragment: mill end; ends and trimmings.
  13. a share or part in something: He does his end of the job very well.
  14. Textiles. a warp thread running vertically and interlaced with the filling yarn in the woven fabric.
  15. Football.
    1. either of the linemen stationed farthest from the center.
    2. the position played by this lineman.
  16. Archery. the number of arrows to be shot by a competitor during one turn in a match.
  17. Cricket. a wicket, especially the one where the batsman is taking a turn.
  18. a unit of a game, as in curling or lawn bowling.
  19. Kantianism. any rational being, regarded as worthy to exist for its own sake.
  20. either half of a domino.
  21. Knots. the part of a rope, beyond a knot or the like, that is not used.
  22. the end, Slang. the ultimate; the utmost of good or bad: His stupidity is the end.

verb (used with object)

  1. to bring to an end or conclusion: We ended the discussion on a note of optimism.
  2. to put an end to; terminate: This was the battle that ended the war.
  3. to form the end of: This passage ends the novel.
  4. to cause the demise of; kill: A bullet through the heart ended him.
  5. 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.

verb (used without object)

  1. to come to an end; terminate; cease: The road ends at Rome.
  2. to issue or result: Extravagance ends in want.
  3. 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.


  1. final or ultimate: the end result.


  1. at loose ends, without an occupation or plans; unsettled; uncertain: He spent two years wandering about the country at loose ends.
  2. 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.
  3. end for end, in reverse position; inverted: The cartons were turned end for end.
  4. end on, with the end next to or facing: He backed the truck until it was end on with the loading platform.
  5. end to end, in a row with ends touching: The pipes were placed end to end on the ground.
  6. 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.
  7. in the end, finally; after all: In the end they shook hands and made up.
  8. 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.
  9. make an end of, to conclude; stop: Let’s make an end of this foolishness and get down to work.
  10. make ends meet, to live within one’s means: Despite her meager income, she tried to make ends meet.Also make both ends meet.
  11. no end, Informal. very much or many: They were pleased no end by the warm reception.
  12. on end,
    1. having the end down; upright: to stand a box on end.
    2. continuously; successively: They talked for hours on end.
  13. 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.

Origin of end 1 before 900; Middle English, Old English ende; cognate with Old Frisian enda, Middle Dutch e(i)nde, Old Saxon endi, Old High German anti, G Ende, Old Norse endi(r), Gothic andeis end Germanic *anthjá-; akin to Sanskrit ánta- endRelated formsend·er, nounSynonyms for end 4. tip, bound, limit, terminus. Synonym study 5. End, close, conclusion, finish, outcome refer to the termination of something. End implies a natural termination or completion, or an attainment of purpose: the end of a day, of a race; to some good end. Close often implies a planned rounding off of something in process: the close of a conference. Conclusion suggests a decision or arrangement: All evidence leads to this conclusion; the conclusion of peace terms. Finish emphasizes completion of something begun: a fight to the finish. Outcome suggests the issue of something that was in doubt: the outcome of a game. 7. See aim. British Dictionary definitions for at loose ends loose end noun

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

end 1 noun

  1. the extremity of the length of something, such as a road, line, etc
  2. the surface at either extremity of a three-dimensional object
  3. the extreme extent, limit, or degree of something
  4. the most distant place or time that can be imaginedthe ends of the earth
  5. the time at which something is concluded
    1. the last section or part
    2. (as modifier)the end office Related adjectives: final, terminal, ultimate
  6. a share or parthis end of the bargain
  7. (often plural) a remnant or fragment (esp in the phrase odds and ends)
  8. a final state, esp death; destruction
  9. the purpose of an action or existence
  10. sport either of the two defended areas of a playing field, rink, etc
  11. bowls curling a section of play from one side of the rink to the other
  12. American football a player at the extremity of the playing line; wing
  13. all ends up totally or completely
  14. a sticky end informal, US and Canadian an unpleasant death
  15. at a loose end or US and Canadian at loose ends without purpose or occupation
  16. at an end exhausted or completed
  17. at the end of the day See day (def. 10)
  18. come to an end to become completed or exhausted
  19. end on
    1. with the end pointing towards one
    2. with the end adjacent to the end of another object
  20. go off the deep end informal to lose one’s temper; react angrily
  21. get one’s end away slang to have sexual intercourse
  22. in the end finally
  23. keep one’s end up
    1. to sustain one’s part in a joint enterprise
    2. to hold one’s own in an argument, contest, etc
  24. make ends meet or make both ends meet to spend no more than the money one has
  25. no end or no end of informal (intensifier)I had no end of work
  26. on end
    1. upright
    2. without pause or interruption
  27. the end informal
    1. the worst, esp something that goes beyond the limits of endurance
    2. mainly USthe best in quality
  28. the end of the road the point beyond which survival or continuation is impossible
  29. throw someone in at the deep end to put someone into a new situation, job, etc, without preparation or introduction


  1. to bring or come to a finish; conclude
  2. to die or cause to die
  3. (tr) to surpass; outdoa novel to end all novels
  4. end it all informal to commit suicide

See also end up Derived Formsender, nounWord Origin for end Old English ende; related to Old Norse endir, Gothic andeis, Old High German endi, Latin antiae forelocks, Sanskrit antya last end 2 verb

  1. (tr) British to put (hay or grain) into a barn or stack

Word Origin for end Old English innian; related to Old High German innōn; see inn Word Origin and History for at loose ends end v.

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

end n.

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] Idioms and Phrases with at loose ends at loose ends

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]


In addition to the idioms beginning with end

  • end game
  • end in itself
  • end justifies the means, the
  • end of one’s rope, at the
  • end of the line
  • end run
  • ends of the earth, the
  • 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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