At a Loose End (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "At a Loose End"?

To be at a loose end means to have nothing to do. It is a nautical term, which refers to a time when a ship's captain would task idle sailors (i.e., those with nothing to do) with checking the ends of rigging ropes to ensure none had come loose.

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See Also

What are idioms? What is figurative language? A list of common grammar errors A list of easily confused words A list of sayings and proverbs