The "bitter end" is where the anchor warp or chain is attached to the ship to stop it going over the side with the anchor. It isn't normal to lay out all the anchor chain so you would leave some in the chain locker and lay it out only if things got worse. If things got so bad and you had to lay out all your chain so that there was no more left in the locker then you were at "the bitter end" and could lay out no more chain.
By SailingQuiz September 2019 Category: Nautical Saying
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What does To the bitter end mean?
What is the nautical origin of the phrase "To the bitter end"?
Definition of the nautical phrase "To the bitter end".