Definition of be at a loose end in English:

be at a loose end

(North American be at loose ends)


  • Have nothing specific to do.

    ‘why don't you stay to eat, if you're at a loose end?’
    • ‘He was at loose ends in his hometown, and hoped the Marines would give his life some ‘structure and discipline.’’
    • ‘The musician was in town this evening, to talk at the Union, and since I was at a loose end, I decided to go along; pleasantly surprised.’
    • ‘I was at a loose end and a friend asked me what I would most like to do.’
    • ‘We were at a loose end for something to do, and Mom suggested the cinema, so, I agreed.’
    • ‘After he'd gone, on Sunday we were at a loose end and found ourselves driving back into the countryside, driving aimlessly.’
    • ‘This means that their children tend to be at a loose end from the end of school until early evening, so some kind of place was needed where they could be supervised and take part in various distractions and activities.’
    • ‘Sam complains he'll be at a loose end until it's time to catch his plane.’
    • ‘She added: ‘Not all young people out on the streets get into trouble, but this offers them an alternative to being bored and getting involved in things they might if they were at a loose end.’’
    • ‘I was at a loose end one winter so decided to give it a go.’
    • ‘He had been at loose ends ever since his forced retirement from the police force and then almost immediately afterwards his wife had died in an accident, leaving him alone.’