end game

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


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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

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® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
T he end game was quick, though not half as quick as it might have been.
The end game is shorts are always in the background waiting to pounce for quick gain.
Greenspan will address the end game of the mortgage crisis and its effect on the larger macroeconomic recovery.
So here comes an open-ended military action with no-end game envisioned.
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