Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

The Bitter End (Origin)

What Is the Origin of the Saying "The Bitter End"?

The bitter end means the very end.

The bitter end is a nautical term. The bitt end (or bitter end) refers to the final part of the anchor rope near to where the rope is fixed to the ship’s deck. Usually marked with coloured rags, the bitter end gets its name from the bollards (or bitts) on the deck to which the anchor rope was tied. When the sailors lowering the anchor came across the rags on the bitter end, they knew there was no more rope left, meaning the water was too deep to set anchor. To go to the bitter end means to go to the very end (i.e., right to end last few yards of the anchor rope).

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