Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)

Close-up of the words 'The End' typed on an old-fashioned typewriter
Nora Carol Photography/Moment/GettyImages

by Kate Woodford

In a recent post, we focused on different ways of talking about the start of things. We looked at phrases such as ‘from the get-go’ and considered more formal words for ‘start’ such as ‘genesis’ and ‘advent’. As the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’ and this week, we’re looking at the opposite – words and phrases for the end of things.

We’ll start with some single words and then take a look at some nice phrases and idioms. A lot of the synonyms for ‘end’ happen to be rather formal. For example, there’s the slightly formal noun close, often referring to the end of a period of time or an official activity: The contract was due to expire at the close of 2019. / the close of business We say, formally, that we bring or draw something to a close, meaning ‘to end something’: I think we’ll draw this meeting to a close.

Similarly formal is the word conclusion, meaning ‘the final part of something’: In a fitting conclusion to a wonderful season, they won the match 4-0.

The noun cessation, meaning ‘ending’ (from the verb ‘cease’), is usually used in formal contexts: It is hoped that the agreement will bring about an immediate cessation of hostilities.

We also talk about the passing of an old way of doing something, meaning ‘the end’, especially when it is replaced by something new: She regrets the passing of a more caring time, when neighbours looked out for each other.

Moving on to phrases, the death knell is evidence that something is ending and something else is replacing it: Is this the death knell for the high street? We say that something sounds the death knell: The opening of the superstore will surely sound the death knell for hundreds of small, independent shops.

The end of the line/road is the point at which it is no longer possible to continue with a process or activity: If they can’t get another loan from the bank, it’s probably the end of the line for the café.

Someone’s last hurrah is their final effort, especially at the end of a long career: The match against the West Indies was his last hurrah in international cricket.

The dying moments of something, especially a game, are the last few seconds of it: In the dying moments, Jones scored to secure a 4-3 win.

The death throes of something are its last stages, before it finally ends: At last, we’re witnessing the death throes of this terrible regime.

And with that, we end this post on endings! If you haven’t read the post on starts, you might like to follow this link: https://dictionaryblog.cambridge.org/2021/11/10/outsets-and-onsets-words-meaning-start/

 

18 thoughts on “Conclusions and last hurrahs (Words and phrases meaning ‘end’)

    1. Vinodd

      THAT IS SO TRUE WORDS WEIGH TONS AND THEN SOME. YES WORDS OFFEND EVERYONE BUT ITS NOT THE WORD ITS THE OFFENSE TAKEN IN DEFENSE OF THE SPOKEN. MY NAME IS VINCENT AND ITS A BLESSING TO BE OFFENDED BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOUR DEFENSE IS ON OFFENSE.

  1. Dr Dilip Maydeo

    That was the exit plan of the sign off saying good bye at the bottoms end of QED and tail piece of the swan song ….

  2. FHK

    What about the word ‘swansong’ to express the idea of ending something? For example: The match was the swansong of Sakib as the team’s skipper. Anyway, thank you for producing such an useful piece.

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