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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

odds and ends

Idiom: odds and ends; used as a noun

First Example:
When Thomas changed jobs, he had to clean out his office.  He was surprised by all the odds and ends he found.  In addition to paperwork, receipts and normal office supplies, he found old birthday cards, a toothbrush, refrigerator magnets, a couple hangers, and a picture of his mom's dog.  He had forgotten why he had most of them.

Meaning: "Odds and ends" is a phrase that means miscellaneous items. This idiom is usually used when describing an assortment of things that are usually leftovers, and they are not usually valuable or important.  In the above example, Thomas found a number of strange things in his office that he had collected there over the years, so "odds and ends" is a perfect word to summarize the group of objects.

Here is another example:               
Shelley's purse is filled with various odds and ends, including a scarf, post-it notes, a single earring, 2 spoons, a empty water bottle, and a package of old cookies.  She really needs to clean out her purse more often!

In this case, Shelley has a number of odds and ends in her purse in addition to more normal things like makeup and her wallet. 

To understand "odds and ends" more clearly, it might help if you understand that the phrase originally comes from lumberyards (places where they cut wood).  After cutting a long piece of wood a certain length, there would be an "end" left over, and when cutting one large piece into multiple pieces of the same size, there would be an "odd" piece left over; hence "odds and ends."

This idiom is from the upcoming edition of LSI's book "Reading Horizons," which will be used in the Level 6 Reading classes. For more information, please visit   

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