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You are watching: My candle burns at both ends meaning


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It has two meanings.

If you got a candle, and also somehow resolved it come something in the middle, climate you might quite literally light both ends.

While creating slightly more light, this would waste your candle by utilizing it twice as fast. This is the only definition the OED gives, v the an initial citation gift from the 1736 Dictionarium Britannicum:

The Candle burns at both Ends. Said when Husband and Wife are both Spendthrifts.

Another sense periodically used is that if one is working specifically long hours, climate one should light a candle in ~ one finish of the day, together one beginning in the dark the the morning, and at the other, together one ends in the dark that the evening.

This feeling though is maybe a folk-etymology the what was originally meant through saying the such a human is being wasteful—hence the first sense—of "life"s candle", yet they might perhaps it is in otherwise thrifty.


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answer Feb 12 "14 in ~ 11:41
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Jon HannaJon Hanna
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burn the candle in ~ both ends is an idiom definition to exhaust oneself, esp by gift up late and also getting up at an early stage to work; come work very or excessively hard; to job-related too tough for good health or tranquility of mind. Worsened by additionally "partying hard" on peak of working hard (but not a essential component to the definition).

A candle lit in ~ both ends will certainly burn up more than twice as quickly/last less than half as long as one lit top top one finish alone.

From www.phrases.org.uk

it was an initial coined in the 1700s. The "both ends" then weren"t the end of the day but were a literal recommendation to the two ends that a candle. Candle were valuable and an important and the notion of waste argued by lighting both ends at once implied reckless waste. This thought may well have been accentuated by the truth that candles might only be lit in ~ both end when organized horizontally, which would reason them come drip and also burn the end quickly.

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Nathan Bailey characterized the term in his Dictionarium Britannicum, 1730, through which time the expression had currently been provided a figurative interpretation and the both ends to be a husband and wife:

The Candle burns at both Ends. Said once Husband and Wife space both Spendthrifts.

Randle Cotgrave recorded it in A Dictionarie that the French and ptcouncil.net Tongues, 1611:

Brusler la chandelle par les deux bouts.

Edna St. Vincent Milay had actually a different take on life to the fullest/living "hard"

from Figs and also Thistles: very first Fig by Edna St. Vincent Millay

My candle burns at both ends; It will certainly not last the night; yet ah, my foes, and also oh, my friends— It offers a lover light!