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loose end

a part or piece left hanging, unattached, or unused:
Remind me to tack down that loose end on the stairway carpet.
an unsettled detail, as of a business matter:
The arrangements have been made, except for a few loose ends.
at loose ends, in an uncertain or unsettled situation or position:
Ever since leaving the company, he's been at loose ends.
Also, at a loose end.
Origin of loose end
First recorded in 1540-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for loose ends
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Everything is at loose ends in America," had been Hilda's accusation.

    The Tin Soldier Temple Bailey
  • There are no loose ends about Best; nothing unfulfilled or uncomfortable.

    The Shadow of Life Anne Douglas Sedgwick
  • Besides, if he had been a bachelor, Whitney was too busy trying to round up the other loose ends of the Ewald case.

    On Secret Service William Nelson Taft
  • As you can see, we have swept the loose ends, so to speak, together.

    Jack of No Trades Charles Cottrell
  • There should be no loose ends if he was ever charged with corruption.

    The Bad Man Charles Hanson Towne
British Dictionary definitions for loose ends

loose end

a detail that is left unsettled, unexplained, or incomplete
at a loose end, without purpose or occupation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Idioms and Phrases with loose ends

loose ends

Unfinished details, incomplete business. For example, We've not quite finished the project; there are still some loose ends. This expression alludes to the ends of a rope or cable that should be fastened. [ Mid-1800s ]
Also see: at loose ends
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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