Burning the Candle Both Ends Origin & Meaning

Burning the Candle Both Ends

“Burning the candle at both ends” has a symbolic meaning, one that’s often overlooked in our modern world. The phrase is usually used to describe the beginning and end of a day. It assumes that it’s dark outside: burning a candle in the morning means getting up before the sun comes up, while burning a candle at night means it’s already dark outside. It’s an image that was popularized by Edna St. Vincent Millay in a poem published in 1918.


What is the meaning of “burning the candle both ends?” This idiom is often used in poetic contexts to signify the ebb and flow of our daily life. When we are burning our candle both at the beginning and end of the day, we are assuming that the outside world is still dark. Moreover, we are not getting proper rest, and we are exhausting ourselves at work. If we continue this way, we risk burning ourselves out physically and emotionally. Ultimately, this may have an adverse effect on our social relationships and job performance.

The phrase “burn the candle at both ends” was originally used to refer to a waste of resources. In the era of candles, which were the main source of artificial lighting, using the candle both ends would use up the candle twice as fast. It also referred to an excessive use of resources. Ultimately, such a lifestyle would result in the collapse of the candle and permanent damage. Thus, it is important to know the true meaning of this idiom.

The phrase “burn the candle at both ends” refers to a short-term solution that will deplete the candle quicker, leaving the user in the dark. Furthermore, it is considered to be a waste of resources, as it leaves the user without light when the sun sets. The expression can be used as a metaphor for life that has become chaotic. Many of us are living our lives at full speed and burn the candle at both ends.


The phrase “burning the candle at both ends” originated in the French language and is now used as a negative term to describe someone who is constantly working and is up too late. It also means that someone is living a fast and furious lifestyle. The phrase comes from a French proverb which means “to waste a candle” – candles were expensive and burning both ends of the candle would consume it twice as quickly as burning it on one end.

While this expression originally had a financial meaning, the phrase now means that a person or couple is spending too much money on entertainment, travel, and other things. In this sense, a couple that spends money without planning ahead is said to be burning the candle at both ends. While it’s true that spending money on entertainment can lead to financial problems, the phrase itself is a poor investment. As a result, you’ll end up in a situation where you’ll be left without light when the sun sets.

This saying is rooted in the French language, although it may also have originated in the past. In French, ‘brusler la chandelle à deux bouts’ means “burning the candle both ends” and was used during the 1800s when candles were highly valued. However, when you do burn a candle at both ends, it drips and eventually burns out. It’s not uncommon to find the phrase in a French-language poem.

Changes in meaning

The phrase “burning the candle both ends” has several meanings, but the primary one is that of using up one’s life force. To burn the candle all the way means to use up all your energy too quickly and exhaust yourself. It’s often used in the context of excessive work, a sign that you’re overextending yourself and wasting your valuable energy. In addition, the phrase can mean two different things depending on the context.

In the past, the phrase “burning the candle both ends” was used to describe someone who was frantically working and spending too much time at work. People realized that doing so was impractical and wasteful. After all, burning the candle both ends would result in burning it twice as fast. However, this idiom has evolved into a metaphor for a frenetic lifestyle. The phrase began its life as a humorous phrase that has changed the meaning of “burning the candle both ends” to something more serious, such as a metaphor.

Checking grammatical usage

The metaphor “burning the candle both ends” is very common, but how do you check whether you’re using the right word? It’s a common phrase used to describe reckless use of resources, which is a great reason to check grammatical usage when writing about the environment. Its origins date back to the late 1700s, and the phrase implies wasteful behavior. The literal meaning is that the candle will burn out if held horizontally, but it can also refer to feeling sore from exercise or a stressful situation.

The phrase “burn the candle at both ends” is an idiomatic expression that describes excessive work or partying, and it refers to people who tend to do too much or go too far. It has roots in the French phrase “brusler la chandelle by les deux bouts,” which was first used in the early seventeenth century. The idiom originated in France, when candle ends were expensive and people used them quickly.

Phrase’s grammatical accuracy

If you’re a full-time student and working full-time at the same time, you’ve probably encountered the idiom “burning the candle both ends.” This idiom has two meanings: burning the candle means to exhaust one’s life force too quickly, and it also means to exhaust one’s self by working too hard. As with all idioms, there are exceptions, and the examples below are just a few examples.

In its original meaning, “burn the candle at both ends” was a financial phrase. The expression was used to describe a couple who were spendthrifts. Eventually, the phrase developed another meaning, and now we say that people who spend too much energy are “burning the candle at both ends.”