Dictionary.com

bitter end

[ bit-er -end for 1; bit-er -end for 2 ]
/ ˈbɪt ər ˈɛnd for 1; ˈbɪt ər ˌɛnd for 2 /
Save This Word!

noun
the conclusion of a difficult or unpleasant situation; the last or furthest extremity: Despite the unpleasant scenes in the movie, she insisted on staying until the bitter end.
Nautical.
  1. the inboard end of an anchor chain or cable, secured in the chain locker of a vessel.
  2. the end of any chain or cable.
QUIZ
GOOSES. GEESES. I WANT THIS QUIZ ON PLURAL NOUNS!
Test how much you really know about regular and irregular plural nouns with this quiz.
Question 1 of 9
Which of the following nouns has an irregular plural form?

Origin of bitter end

1620–30 in form bitters end; probably bitt + -er1, later taken as bitter
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use bitter end in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for bitter end

bitter end

noun
nautical the end of a line, chain, or cable, esp the end secured in the chain locker of a vessel
  1. to the bitter end until the finish of a task, job, or undertaking, however unpleasant or difficult
  2. until final defeat or death

Word Origin for bitter end

C19: in both senses perhaps from bitt
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with bitter end

bitter end

The last extremity; also, death or ruin. For example, I'm supporting the union's demands to the bitter end, or Even though they fight a lot, I'm sure Mom and Dad will stay together to the bitter end. The source of this term may have been nautical, a bitter being a turn of a cable around posts, or bitts, on a ship's deck, and the bitter end meaning “the part of the cable that stays inboard.” Thus, when a rope is paid out to the bitter end, no more remains. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.
FEEDBACK