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.


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