It’s December 31st – we’re at the end of the year! In today’s lesson, you’ll learn 8 English idioms with the word end. Remember, don’t try to translate these idioms literally word by word – if you do, they might not make sense. Instead, learn each one as a whole expression.
a dead end
When it comes to transportation, a dead end is a street that has no exit. This expression is also used for something that leads to no progress / no success. If the police are investigating a crime and they come to a dead end, it means they do not succeed in solving the crime.
at the end of my rope / at wits’ end
If you say “I’m at the end of my rope” or “I’m at wits’ end,” it means “I’m completely annoyed, exhausted, or desperate, and I have no more patience or energy.” If your baby has been crying for hours and you can’t figure out what’s wrong or how to calm him down, you would probably be at your wits’ end!
tie up some loose ends
This idiom means to handle or finish some small issues that were previously left unresolved. For example, let’s say you’re moving to a new apartment, and you’ve already taken care of the major/essential things like signing the contract, moving your stuff, and paying rent. After that, you might tie up some loose ends like decorating the apartment or informing friends/family of your new address.
odds and ends
“Odds and ends” refers to various, miscellaneous things. For example, if you use your garage as storage space, it probably contains tools, boxes, and other odds and ends (random items).
hours/days/weeks/months on end
If something lasts or takes hours, days, weeks, or months on end, it means it takes many such units of time – using this idiom often implies that it’s an especially long time. For example, my boyfriend loves video games so much, he plays them for hours on end (= many hours).
will never hear the end of it
Saying someone “will never hear the end of it” means that person will be reminded about something (usually a mistake they made, or something bad or embarrassing they did) by other people for a long time in the future. For example, let’s say you accidentally call your girlfriend by your ex-girlfriend’s name. You might say, “I can’t believe I did that – now I’ll never hear the end of it!” – meaning your girlfriend will often remind you of this incident in the future.
keep your end of the bargain
This idiom means to do what you promised to do as part of an agreement. Let’s say you offered to fix your neighbor’s computer in exchange for him helping you with repairs in your house. After you fix the computer, then your neighbor needs to keep his end of the bargain and help with the repairs, as he said he would.
the (something) to end all (somethings)
This expression means that something is the greatest and most impressive example of its kind. For example, if you say a rock concert was “the show to end all shows,” you are emphasizing how big, exciting, and/or important it was, implying it was superior to all other rock concerts.