Odds and Ends

Odds and ends is a plural noun idiom that has existed in English since the mid-1700’s with origins are far back the 14th century.

Meaning

Odds and ends refer to miscellaneous small items, remnants and unused objects of no particular value. It has the same meaning as “bits and bobs” or “bits and pieces” and refers to a random assortment of unimportant pieces or small things. Any miscellaneous collection of little value. The expression is sometimes used to refer to chores as well.

Examples Of Use

“Ben loves making things out of the odds and ends he finds in his workshop.”

“I’d like to go out this weekend, but I have few odds and ends to take care of around the house.”

“I finally finished packing for the big move, except for a few odds and ends.”

Origin

Odds and ends probably derived from an earlier term from the mid-1500’s, odd ends, referring to short leftovers from bolts of cloth and then later to short leftovers of any material, such as “odd ends of chain” or “odd ends of lumber.” By the mid-1700’s it had morphed into ‘odds and ends’ and become more generalized, acquiring its present meaning.  1Ammer, Christine. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

More Idioms Starting with O

More End Idioms

More Odds Idioms

This page contains one or more affiliate links. See full affiliate disclosure.

Sources   [ + ]

1. Ammer, Christine. The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.