bitter end, (fight) to the

to the bitter end

1. Until the point of completion or conclusion, even though it will likely 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 to the bitter end.
2. To 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 to the bitter end! My father stayed beside my dying mother's bed to the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

to the bitter end

 and till the bitter end
Fig. to the very end. (Originally nautical. This originally had nothing to do with bitterness.) I'll stay till the bitter end. It took me a long time to get through school, but I worked hard at it all the way to the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

to the bitter end

If you do something to the bitter end, you continue doing it in a determined way until you finish it, even though it becomes increasingly difficult. Despite another crushing defeat, he is determined to see the job through to the bitter end. They must carry on their battle to the bitter end, not only to get a fair deal for themselves, but for the sake of all British business. Note: Sailors used to refer to the end of a rope or chain that was securely tied as `the bitter end'. Bitts were posts on the ship's deck and ropes would be tied to these to secure the ship in a harbour.
See also: bitter, end
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

to the bitter end

persevering to the end, whatever the outcome.
See also: bitter, end
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

to the bitter ˈend

right to the end, no matter how long it takes; until everything possible has been done: Now that we have begun this project, we must see it through to the bitter end.We are determined to fight to the bitter end.
See also: bitter, end
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

bitter end, (fight) to the

The last extremity, the conclusion of a tough battle or other difficult situation. The term comes from seamanship, where “the bitter end” is that part of the chain or anchor cable that is secured inside the vessel and is seldom used. It is so described in Captain Smith’s Seaman’s Grammar of 1627: “A bitter is but the turne of a Cable about the bitts, and veare it out by little and little. And the Bitter’s end is that part of the Cable doth stay within board.” It was sometimes spelled better; Daniel Defoe, in Robinson Crusoe (1719), described a terrible storm, saying, “We rode with two anchors ahead, and the cables veered out to the better end.” A much earlier version is found in Chaucer’s The Squire’s Tale: “They demen gladly to the badder ende” (translated by the Reverend Walter W. Skeat as “worse end”).
See also: bitter
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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