At one's wit's end


      • to express frustration or confusion
        To convey that one has reached the limits of their patience, understanding, or resources and is unable to think of a solution or way forward.

      • to emphasize extreme exhaustion or fatigue
        To convey that one is completely drained, both mentally and physically, and has no energy or motivation left.

      • to indicate a state of desperation or hopelessness
        To convey that one is in a state of complete despair and has no idea how to proceed or overcome a difficult situation.

    Examples of At one's wit's end

    • After trying to solve the complex puzzle for hours, I was at my wit's end.

      The phrase is used to express a high level of frustration and the feeling of being unable to think of any more ways to deal with a problem.

    • She was at her wit's end trying to get her twins to sleep through the night.

      This shows that the person had reached the limit of their ability or patience while attempting to resolve a difficult situation.

    • When the computer crashed for the third time, the IT technician was at his wit's end.

      Signifies the IT technician had exhausted all ideas and was very frustrated with the recurring problem.

    • John’s constant lateness left his partner at her wit's end.

      Indicates that the partner is extremely frustrated with John's behavior and feels mentally exhausted.

    • "I've tried everything to fix this leak," the plumber said, scratching his head. "I'm at my wit's end!"

      Suggests that the plumber has used all his knowledge and skills and is now frustrated because he cannot solve the problem.

    • The continuous noise from the construction site had the nearby residents at their wit's end.

      The locals have reached a level of extreme annoyance and have no more patience due to the constant disturbance.

    • The teacher found herself at her wit's end trying to control the unruly classroom.

      Illustrates the teacher's intense frustration and inability to manage or improve the chaotic situation.

    • After searching for her lost cat for days, Maria was at her wit's end.

      Depicts that Maria is emotionally drained and unable to think of new ways to find her cat.


    "At one's wit's end" is a versatile idiom that can be used to express a variety of emotions and situations. It is often used to convey frustration, confusion, exhaustion, and desperation. The common thread among these meanings is the idea of being at a breaking point or reaching the end of one's mental or emotional capacity.

    This idiom is often used in situations where one is faced with a problem or challenge and is unable to come up with a solution. It can also be used to describe a state of extreme exhaustion or frustration, where one feels overwhelmed and unable to continue. In some cases, it is also used to express a sense of hopelessness and despair.

    Origin of "At one's wit's end"

    The origin of this idiom can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was first used in the English translation of the Bible. In Psalm 107, verse 27, it is written: "They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits' end." This was meant to convey the idea of being lost or confused, as if one had reached the limits of their mental faculties.

    Over time, the phrase evolved to mean a state of mental or emotional exhaustion, where one is unable to think clearly or logically. The word "wit" in this context refers to one's intelligence or mental capacity. So, being at one's wit's end means that one has exhausted all their mental resources and is unable to come up with a solution.

    This idiom has remained in use for centuries and is still commonly used today to express a sense of frustration or hopelessness. Its early religious origins have also given it a slightly more formal tone, making it a popular phrase in literature and formal speech.