at the end of one's rope


a strong, thick line or cord, commonly one composed of twisted or braided strands of hemp, flax, or the like, or of wire or other material.
a lasso.
the cords used to enclose a prize ring or other space.
Informal. the operations of a business or the details of any undertaking: The new employee didn't take long to learn the ropes.
a hangman's noose, halter, or cord.
the sentence or punishment of death by hanging.
a quantity of material or a number of things twisted or strung together in the form of a cord: a rope of tobacco.
a stringy, viscid, or glutinous formation in a liquid: ropes of slime.
verb (used with object), roped, roping.
to tie, bind, or fasten with a rope.
to enclose, partition, or mark off with a rope or ropes (often followed by off ).
to catch with a lasso; lasso.
Nautical. to reinforce (a sail or awning) with a boltrope.
verb (used without object), roped, roping.
to be drawn out into a filament of thread; become ropy.
Verb phrases
rope in, Informal. to lure or entice, especially by employing deception: The swindler had roped in a number of gullible persons.
at the end of one's rope, at the end of one's endurance or means; at the limit: With all her savings gone and bills piling up, she was at the end of her rope.
give someone enough rope, to allow a person complete freedom to continue his or her misdeeds in hope that retribution will follow.
on the ropes,
Boxing. in a defenseless position, as leaning against the ropes to keep from falling.
Informal. in a desperate or hopeless position; close to defeat or failure: By repeatedly undercutting his prices, his competitors soon had him on the ropes.

before 900; (noun) Middle English rop(e), rap(e), Old English rāp; cognate with Dutch reep, German Reif; (v.) Middle English, derivative of the noun

roper, noun
ropelike, adjective
unroped, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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World English Dictionary
rope (rəʊp)
1.  a.  a fairly thick cord made of twisted and intertwined hemp or other fibres or of wire or other strong material
 b.  (as modifier): a rope bridge; a rope ladder
2.  a row of objects fastened or united to form a line: a rope of pearls; a rope of onions
3.  a quantity of material twisted or wound in the form of a cord
4.  anything in the form of a filament or strand, esp something viscous or glutinous: a rope of slime
5.  the rope
 a.  a rope, noose, or halter used for hanging
 b.  death by hanging, strangling, etc
6.  give someone enough rope to hang himself to allow someone to accomplish his own downfall by his own foolish acts
7.  know the ropes
 a.  to have a thorough understanding of a particular sphere of activity
 b.  to be experienced in the ways of the world
8.  on the ropes
 a.  boxing driven against the ropes enclosing the ring by an opponent's attack
 b.  in a defenceless or hopeless position
vb (usually foll by off) (when intr, foll by up)
9.  (tr) to bind or fasten with or as if with a rope
10.  to enclose or divide by means of a rope
11.  (intr) to become extended in a long filament or thread
12.  mountaineering to tie (climbers) together with a rope
[Old English rāp; related to Old Saxon rēp, Old High German reif]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. rap, from P.Gmc. *raipaz (cf. O.N. reip, M.Du., Du. reep "rope," Goth. skauda-raip "shoe-lace," O.H.G., Ger. reif "ring, hoop"). Technically, only cordage above one inch in circumference and below 10 (bigger-around than that is a cable). Nautical use varies. Finnish raippa "hoop, rope, twig" is
a Gmc. loan-word. The verb is attested from c.1300. To know the ropes (1840) is originally a seaman's term. Phrase on the ropes "defeated" is attested from 1924, a fig. extension from boxing. To be at the end of (one's) rope "out of resources and options" is first attested 1686. Formerly also in many slang and extended uses related to hanging, e.g. John Roper's window "a noose," rope-ripe "deserving to be hanged," both 16c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at the end of one's rope

see end of one's rope.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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