Popular Pages

More Info

Burn The Candle At Both Ends

Previous Page

Burn The Candle At Both Ends : Phrases


To waste material wealth.


Roger worked at his job so hard he seemed to be
burning the candle at both ends to make ends meet.


This phrase goes back to the 17th Century in English and is much older (as it was translated then from the French
Bruloient la chandelle par les deux bouts. Originally the expression meant to waste material wealth - to use the candel wastefully. Then it took on its more common modern meaning of wasting one's strength, as when someone goes from his day job to one he holds at night, or works for a worthy cause every moment of his spare time or even does too much partying after work.

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends -
It gives a lovely light! - Edna St. Vincent Millay, "First Fig" (1920)

Alternative: A historical novel, set in pre-electricity times, referred to a person working hard, burning the candle at both ends of the day. Meaning obviously up before dawnand to bed after sunset.

Phrases Index

From Burn The Candle to HOME PAGE



Keep In Touch