Archive for January 19th, 2011

January 19, 2011

The end of the rope

Let's hope they don't reach the end of the rope on the way down, pic: © Gelyngfjell |

When you reach the end of your rope you are not in a good position – every rock climber rappelling down from a mountain with a rope that falls 30 feet short will intuitively understand that. However, I don’t think that the idiom has its origin in rock-climbing – but it could.

To be at the end of one’s rope means that one has reached the limits of ones patients and endurance – or both. It also implies that one has run out of options – you are stuck in a bad situation with no easy way out.

Here are a couple of examples:

Mother of teenage daughter: “she is defiant and uncooperative and then she wants to go out wearing these mid-riff free T-shirts and high heels.  If I want to talk to her she simply doesn’t listen.  I am at the end of my rope with her.”

Here is an article about parents which – at the end of their rope – sedate their babies.


January 19, 2011

Skeletons in closets

Even fancy closets can have skeletons in them, pic:

To have a skeleton in your closet – I like this idiom because it creates a pretty vivid picture in your mind.  I can’t help but thinking of opening a creaking closet door and a skeleton full of spiderwebs falls out.

If you ever murdered somebody and hid the body in a seldom used closet you have a pretty big, shameful, dangerous, dark secret which you want to keep hidden from the world  – which is exactly what the idiom means.

Skeletons of all sorts in various closets have become a major source of problems and shame for politicians and other public figures: an affair past or present, an undocumented Mexican cleaning lady, a substance abuse problem, a criminal record, an affiliation with the wrong people – just a small, non-comprehensive list- are all potential skeletons that can come out of the closet any time to hunt the owner of the proverbial closet.

An example:

“If I had know he had a skeleton in his closet I would have never voted for him”.

For entertainment you might want to have a look at this site:  Skeleton Closet – All the dirt on all the candidates for president since 1995