the loose ends/threads
The aspects of something that are unresolved or unfinished. I just need to tie up a few loose ends before I put the house up for sale. My thesis is almost done—the only loose ends are formatting and proofreading. I have a few loose ends I want to address before I move out West.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
Unfinished details, incomplete business. For example, We've not quite finished the project; there are still some loose ends. This expression alludes to the ends of a rope or cable that should be fastened. [Mid-1800s] Also see at loose ends.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
COMMON If there are loose ends in a piece of work, there are small details or parts of it that have not been finished or dealt with yet. We have to make certain that as we move on to the next stage there are no loose ends. Note: People often talk about tying up loose ends to mean dealing with these details. There are still a few loose ends on the project to be tied up. Compare with at loose ends. Note: This expression may refer to the ropes on a sailing ship. The ends of the ropes had to be tightly bound to stop them fraying, and sailors were often given this job to do when there was nothing more urgent to be done.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
the loose ˈends/ˈthreadsthe minor details of something which have still not been dealt with or explained: We’ve almost finished the report. There are just a few loose ends to tie up and then it’ll be ready. ♢ It’s a very unsatisfactory detective story. You know who committed the murder, but there are far too many loose ends.
A loose end/thread is the end of a piece of string or thread that is not tied to anything else.
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