at a loose end

British English
This page is about the idiom at a loose end.

Meaning: If you're at a loose end, you have nothing to do.

For example:

  • If I'm ever at a loose end, I look for a good book to read.

  • Give me a call if you're at a loose end and we'll go and do something.

Note: This is similar to the American idiom "at loose ends", though the American idiom seems to indicate a state of unhappy restlessness that results from having nothing to do, while the British idiom simply means having nothing to do.

Variety: This idiom is typically used in British English but may be used in other varieties of English too.

Quick Quiz:

Grandpa never seems to be at a loose end. He always seems to

a. have nothing to do

b. have plenty to do

c. have a tight end

Idiom of the Day

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Contributor: Matt Errey