Thursday, January 31, 2013

cliché: at the end of my rope

Meaning: out of options or alternatives (definition).

Example: My cell phone was locked in the car with my keys and wallet - I was at the end of my rope.

Origins: A rope thrown to someone for help or provided as a resource. (Sources. OED [b])

  • at the loose end of an untethered rope (rescue)
  • grabbed the short end of a shrinking rope (resource)
  • ran out of ladder
  • reduced to pennies and pocket lint
  • bailing with a bottomless pail
  • at the mercy of a slippery rope with no grip
  • on the last strand of an unraveling rope
  • watched the rescue party pass me by

Discussion: Different from “at the end of my tether” (see OED [a] above for distinction. Also sometimes thought to mean “I can’t take anymore.” I didn't address those here.

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