What Does From/To the Ends of the Earth Mean?

Ends of the Earth Meaning

Definition: A far away place.

Origin of the Ends of the Earth

This expression comes from the Bible, where it appears in a few different places.

Two specific passages are Psalms 98:3,

He has remembered his love

and his faithfulness to Israel;

all the ends of the earth have seen

the salvation of our God.

And Zechariah 9:10,

I will take away the chariots from Ephraim

and the warhorses from Jerusalem,

and the battle bow will be broken.

He will proclaim peace to the nations.

His rule will extend from sea to sea

and from the River[a] to the ends of the earth.

It refers to the most distant locations of the human world, as opposed to heaven. In the past, people believed the earth was flat rather than round, so it might have had a more literal meaning.

In modern contexts, you can simple think about it signaling the ends of civilization. If you are going to the ends of the earth, you are going to remote areas where no man or woman inhabits.

Examples of the Ends of the Earth

to the ends of the earth meaning Here is an example that involves two college students on a school trip overseas.

Harry: I am in love!

Robin: Really? With whom?

Harry: I met the most beautiful woman while sightseeing. She was perfect.

Robin: What was her name?

Harry: I don’t know. We couldn’t speak the same language, but I could tell she felt a connection between us as well.

Robin: Are you going to see her again?

Harry: That’s the problem. The crowd separated us, and I couldn’t find her again.

Robin: That’s too bad.

Harry: It’s not big deal. I’ll search to the ends of the earth to find her again if I have to.

ends of the earth Bible In this dialogue, two coworkers are discussing the woman’s job search.

Mal: So how’s the job search going?

Xiomara: Not very well. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many jobs to apply to.

Mal: Are you only looking at local jobs?

Xiomara: Yeah, I have family here. I’d love to be able to consider other jobs farther away, but I have a responsibility to my family to stay close. I can’t just accept a job at the ends of the earth, even if it does have amazing pay and benefits.

Mal: Well, maybe your family would like to move. You never know. They might surprise you.

Xiomara: Maybe. But they don’t really like going far from home, so I expect they wouldn’t be interested.

More Examples

This excerpt is about a presidential candidate who helped military members who traveled far away to carry out security measures.

  • She stood up against thugs and dictators and was a key part of the Obama national security team that decided to go to the ends of the earth to wipe out Osama bin Laden. –LA Times

This excerpt uses the expression in the plot synopsis of a movie.

  • Cumberbatch plays Dr. Stephen Strange, a gifted brain surgeon whose hubris is shattered when his hands are mangled in a car accident. Strange travels to the ends of the earth to regain his lost abilities. His journey brings him to a Himalayan temple where he learns the ancient mystic arts of the universe. –LA Times

Summary

The phrase the ends of the earth is another way a place that is extremely distant and unfamiliar.