Saturday, June 25, 2005


Odds and ends
Prerana Trehan

This week we take a look at the idioms related to endings.

A means to an end: something that you are not interested in but that you do because it will help you achieve something else.

My son doesn’t really enjoy studying. For him, it is just a means to an end.

An end in itself: something that is important to you not because it will help you achieve something else, but because you enjoy doing it or because you think it is important.

My father always told me that earning money should never be an end in itself.

At a loose end: have nothing to do.

Ever since he retired he has been at a loose end.

At the end of your tether: be so tired, worried or annoyed by something that you feel unable to deal with it any more.

Just one week with the new boss and I am already at the end of my tether.

At your wits’ end: very worried or upset because you have tried every possible way to solve a problem but cannot do it.

I have tried every argument I can think of to talk her out of leaving her studies, but she just won’t listen. I am at my wits’ end now.

Days/months/weeks on end: said of something that continues for days/months/weeks without stopping.

In Ladakh during winters, it sometimes snows for weeks on end.

Go off the deep end: suddenly become very angry or upset.

When the millionaire found out that his son wanted to marry the chauffeur’s daughter, he went off the deep end.

No end of something: a lot of something.

I have had no end of problems with the new neighbours.

Not be the end of the world: not cause a very serious problem.

If you don’t win this contest, it won’t be the end of the world.

Tail end of something: the last part of something.

Towards the tail end of the match, the batsman broke his thumb.

(Reference: Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms)