English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Leaving aside the strong sexual connotations of the lyrics of Pulp's song "This Is Hardcore", I was wondering what is the figurative meaning of the expression the author used:

"This is the end of the line"

I thought it could be "this is it" or also could mean "I am putting an end to this", but I am not sure.

I was curious about the possible uses of the phrase, not only this particular case (ie, this lyrics).

Also, I would like to know about the literal meaning. Is it refering to a drawn line? A spoken line?

share|improve this question
See also: Traveling Wilburys – cornbread ninja 麵包忍者 Jun 15 '12 at 15:05
up vote 3 down vote accepted

In the context of the song, it seems to mean something like "it doesn't get better than this." That's not typically what the expression means.

Wiktionary has these definitions:

  1. The termination point of a railway or similar transportation system.
  2. (idiomatic) Final cessation or discontinuance of a process, institution, or person, especially one which has existed for a considerable period of time; death.

You would typically use it to mean that whatever you're engaged in is over, has run its course, there's nowhere else for it to go. Dictionary.com gives the examples of a presidency term (s/he could never get re-elected) or a TV serial (declining viewership, it's time to stop the show).

share|improve this answer
It could also mean that the singer can stop looking for love now, he's found it. – JAM Jun 15 '12 at 14:57

It referred to a railroad line originally, the last stop being the "end of the line".

share|improve this answer
On [Caltrain|caltrain.com/] the other day, I finally got a joke that puzzled me as a child in Colorado: A passenger on a west-bound train asks the conductor, "Do we stop in San Francisco?" The conductor answers, "If we don't, there'll be a big splash." – Malvolio Jun 15 '12 at 15:42

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.