end game

or end·game

  1. Chess. the final stage of a game, usually following the exchange of queens and the serious reduction of forces.
  2. the late or final stages of any activity: the end game of the negotiations.

Origin of end game

First recorded in 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for endgame


  1. Also called: ending the closing stage of a game of chess, in which only a few pieces are left on the board
  2. the closing stage of any of certain other games
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

Word Origin and History for endgame

1884, from chess, from end + game (n.). There is no formal or exact definition of it in chess, but it begins when most of the pieces have been cleared from the board.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with endgame

end game

The final stage of some process, as in The book discussed the diplomatic end game resulting in the treaty. This term, dating from about 1880, comes from chess, where it denotes the stage of a game when most of the pieces have been removed from the board. In the mid-1900s it began to be transferred to other activities.

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