at a loose end


Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Related to at a loose end: at a loss, get the ball rolling, in terms of

at a loose end

With nothing to do and somewhat bored; from crew members on old sailing ships being told to tidy up loose ends of ropes and rigging if they had nothing better to occupy them.
Translations
لا شَيءَ يَفْعَلُه
ikke have noget at lave
nincs dolga
hafa ekkert aî gera
nemať čo robiť

end

(end) noun
1. the last or farthest part of the length of something. the house at the end of the road; both ends of the room; Put the tables end to end (= with the end of one touching the end of another); (also adjective) We live in the end house.
2. the finish or conclusion. the end of the week; The talks have come to an end; The affair is at an end; He is at the end of his strength; They fought bravely to the end; If she wins the prize we'll never hear the end of it (= she will often talk about it).
3. death. The soldiers met their end bravely.
4. an aim. What end have you in view?
5. a small piece left over. cigarette ends.
verb
to bring or come to an end. The scheme ended in disaster; How does the play end?; How should I end (off) this letter?
ˈending noun
the end, especially of a story, poem etc. Fairy stories have happy endings.
ˈendless adjective
1. going on for ever or for a very long time. endless arguments.
2. continuous, because of having the two ends joined. an endless chain.
at a loose end
with nothing to do. He went to the cinema because he was at a loose end.
end up
1. to reach or come to an end, usually unpleasant. I knew that he would end up in prison.
2. to do something in the end. He refused to believe her but he ended up apologizing.
in the end
finally. He had to work very hard but he passed his exam in the end.
make (both) ends meet
not to get into debt. The widow and her four children found it difficult to make ends meet.
no end (of)
very much. I feel no end of a fool.
on end
1. upright; erect. Stand the table on end; The cat's fur stood on end.
2. continuously; without a pause. For days on end we had hardly anything to eat.
put an end to
to cause to finish; to stop. The government put an end to public execution.
the end
the limit (of what can be borne or tolerated). His behaviour is the end!
References in classic literature ?
It accounted for his feeling at a loose end whenever he was away from Elizabeth for as much as half an hour.
I was in the strange position of possessing but two hundred gulden, of being at a loose end, of lacking both a post, the means of subsistence, a shred of hope, and any plans for the future, yet of caring nothing for these things.
Tom, Miss," said Bob, speaking lower and looking serious, "he's as close as a iron biler, he is; but I'm a 'cutish chap, an' when I've left off carrying my pack, an' am at a loose end, I've got more brains nor I know what to do wi', an' I'm forced to busy myself wi' other folks's insides.