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Idiom

Burn the Candle at Both Ends: Origin and Meaning

Meaning
to work very hard, to stay up very late at night .
Origin
Tickled pinkWe use this phrase to describe people who live their life unsustainably It originally had a different meaning, burning a literal candle at both ends in the days when candles were useful and valuable suggested that you were being wasteful. Also, candles can only be burnt at both ends only when held horizontally, which causes them to drip and burn out quickly. Nowadays, the idiom has gained a different meaning, the two ends of the candle representing working late into the night then beginning again early the next day.
Examples
– She’s been burning the candle at both ends studying for her exams.

– No wonder Susan is ill. She has been burning the candle at both ends for a long time.

– You’ll wear yourself out if you keep burning the candle at both ends.
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