Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
the bitter end
1. The point of completion or conclusion, even though it may be difficult, unpleasant, or take a long time to reach. Possibly of nautical origin, referring to the "bitts" on a dock to which a ship's ropes are moored. I'm not really enjoying this book, but I always make a point of sticking with a novel till the bitter end.
2. The final or most critical extremity, such as death or total defeat. We might not have a chance of winning today, but we have to give it our all until the bitter end! My father stayed beside my dying mother's bed till the bitter end.
The last extremity; also, death or ruin. For example, I'm supporting the union's demands to the bitter end, or Even though they fight a lot, I'm sure Mom and Dad will stay together to the bitter end . The source of this term may have been nautical, a bitter being a turn of a cable around posts, or bitts, on a ship's deck, and the bitter end meaning "the part of the cable that stays inboard." Thus, when a rope is paid out to the bitter end, no more remains. [Mid-1800s]