at loose ends
Meaning: If you’re at loose ends, you feel restless and unsettled because you don’t have anything to do.
- Hank’s been at loose ends since he lost his job, so I hope he finds another one soon.
- We tried limiting the time Jimmy could play computer games, but he gets restless and moody whenever he’s at loose ends, so we let him play.
Note: This is similar to the British idiom “at a loose end”, though “at loose ends” seems to indicate a state of unhappy restlessness that results from having nothing to do. The British idiom simply means having nothing to do.
Variety: This idiom is typically used in American English but may be used in other varieties of English too.