Tie up loose ends

Posted by James Briggs on April 30, 2005

In Reply to: Tie up loose ends posted by Zenmoon on April 29, 2005

: Does anyone know the origins of 'tie up loose ends'?

The ends here are almost certainly those of rigging ropes on a sailing ship. There were many such ropes associated with the sails and the ends were tightly bound to prevent them unravelling. One consequence of this was that when there was little else to do the Captain would order his men to check the ropes and repair any of those with loose ends. Hence, if one is at loose ends then there is not much of anything to be done; life is a little dull and boring.