🤫 7 Secrets for ESL Learners - FREE download


at a loose end

This page is about the idiom at a loose end

British English


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.

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.


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
a) have nothing to do b) have plenty to do c) have a tight end

See Idiom of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey