End of the line

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End of the line is an idiom that is decades old. We will examine the meaning of the idiom end of the line, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

End of the line is an idiom that means there’s no where to go, that something has ended, that there is no recourse, that there is no way to continue. For instance, if one has liquidated all his holdings and spent all that money, he has come to the end of the line concerning his finances. The expression end of the line is derived from the very literal meaning of the end of a railway line or other transportation system. Though the phrase end of the line, used in a literal sense, was in use since the 1800s, the idiomatic meaning of end of the line came into use in the mid-twentieth century.


It’s the end of the line for Bombardier Inc.’s five-decade run as a trainmaker. (The Montreal Gazette)

It’s the End of the Line for Jaguar Land Rover’s Defender (Industry Week)

It’s the end of the line for ‘dinosaur’ phone system at El Segundo City Hall. (The Los Angeles Times)

It’s the end of the line for Subway promotion (The Houston Chronicle)

Here’s some of the articles we covered about idioms: