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You are watching: My candle burns at both ends meaning


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It has actually two meanings.

If you got a candle, and also someexactly how solved it to something in the middle, then you might quite literally light both ends.

While developing slightly even more light, this would waste your candle by using it twice as rapid. This is the only meaning the OED offers, via the initially citation being from the 1736 Dictionarium Britannicum:

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

Another sense sometimes provided is that if one is working specifically long hrs, then one need to light a candle at one finish of the day, as one starts in the dark of the morning, and also at the other, as one ends in the dark of the evening.

This sense though is possibly a folk-etymology of what was originally meant by saying that such a perboy is being wasteful—hence the initially sense—of "life"s candle", but they might maybe be otherwise thrifty.


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answered Feb 12 "14 at 11:41
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Jon HannaJon Hanna
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burn the candle at both ends is an idiom meaning to exhaust oneself, esp by being up late and getting up at an early stage to work; to occupational very or excessively hard; to work also tough for great health or peace of mind. Worsened by additionally "partying hard" on height of working hard (however not a vital component to the definition).

A candle lit at both ends will certainly burn up even more than twice as quickly/last much less than fifty percent as lengthy as one lit on one end alone.

From www.phrases.org.uk

it was first coined in the 1700s. The "both ends" then weren"t the ends of the day but were a literal recommendation to the two ends of a candle. Candles were beneficial and also valuable and also the notion of waste suggested by lighting both ends at as soon as implied reckless waste. This thought may well have actually been accentuated by the fact that candles may only be lit at both ends as soon as held horizontally, which would reason them to drip and also burn out conveniently.

See more: Similarities And Differences Between Greece And Rome, Major Differences Between Roman And Greek Culture

Nathan Bailey characterized the term in his Dictionarium Britannicum, 1730, by which time the phrase had already been provided a figurative interpretation and also the both ends were a husband also and wife:

The Candle burns at both Ends. Sassist once Husband also and Wife are both Spendthrifts.

Randle Cotgrave recorded it in A Dictionarie of the French and slrfc.org Tongues, 1611:

Brusler la chandelle par les deux bouts.

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

from Figs and also Thistles: First Fig By Edna St. Vincent Millay

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