Jul 12, 2019

Burn Candle From Both Ends – Idioms Meaning and Examples

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to work hard

to work hard for peace of mind

to work hard for good health

to work from early morning to late night

to overwork

to lead a hectic life


Julie has been burning candles at both ends, trying to finish the project on time.

If you stay all night and burn candles at both ends, you will fall ill. You need to take some rest.

She has to appear for competitive exams next month, and hence, she has been burning candles at both ends.


This phrase has originated from a French expression, which means to work so hard that one burns oneself out. This phrase also relates to another fact. Candles were once an expensive commodity and to burn it from both the ends would imply wasting the valuable commodity to achieve something.

Similar Idioms

bend over backwards

I have bent over backward to bring this company to the current possible. I expect you to understand and value it.

burn the midnight oil

I had to burn the midnight oil to complete my project on time.

give the old college try

I am sure you can pass this exam with flying colors, give the old college try.

keep one’s nose to the grindstone

She kept her nose to the grindstone the whole year, and today, she is a police officer.

knock oneself out

It is not worth it to knock yourself out for this job. You can get any other job.

pull an all-nighter

I heard the team had to pull an all-nighter to achieve this month’s targets.

push oneself

If you want to achieve something, you need to push yourself.

put one’s back into something

You need to put your back into that assignment, and you will be able to deliver it on time.

work like a dog

Your father comes home after working like a dog, and all you do it ignore him. That is so rude.

work one’s fingers to the bone

After his father’s death, he worked his fingers to the bone to take care of his family.

Opposite Idioms

cutting off corners

It is not a good idea to cut off corners to achieve your daily target at work. If your boss comes to know about this, you will be in trouble.

taking the lazy way out

At times there are conflicts between employees in the workplace. Very few companies avoid taking the lazy way out while resolving these conflicts.

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Idioms and Phrases

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