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Saving candle-ends

Posted by Smokey Stover on August 06, 2008 at 03:27

In Reply to: Saving candle-ends posted by Bud on August 05, 2008 at 17:15:

: What does the expression "saving candle-ends" mean?

When a candle burns down there's always a bit at the end left unburnt in the candlestick. Back when candles were more common, before Edison obligingly invented the light bulb, people also talked about them more. When they were made of tallow they could be eaten, which you had to be pretty hungry to do. You could also melt them again into part of a new candle, a very laborious and unrewarding process. The Oxford English Dictionary quotes remarks from the 15th to the 19th century about saving candle-ends, sometimes stealing them from a house in which one is a guest, sometimes eating them for lack of better nourishment.

You can be frugal enough to save candle-ends either because you are needy or because you are by nature a hoarder. But in either case it's a sign of extreme frugality.