Bitter-end meaning

A final, painful, or disastrous extremity.
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(nautical) The inboard end of a chain, rope, or cable, especially the end of a rope or cable that is wound around a bitt.
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The inboard end of a rope, cable, or chain.
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(nautical) That part of an anchor cable which is abaft the bitts and thus remains inboard when a ship is riding at anchor.

Note: To pay out a rope to the bitter end means to pay it all out.

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(idiomatic) The end of a long and difficult process.
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(nautical) The final six fathoms of anchor chain before the point of attachment in the chain locker of modern U.S.naval vessels, with these six fathoms often painted blue, white and red to warn deck hands of the end of available anchor chain.
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to the bitter end
  • until the end, however difficult or distressing
  • until death
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Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

to the bitter end

Origin of bitter-end

  • English bitter bitt (bitt) (–er) end Sense 1, influenced by bitter

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition