Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Tether.

 Tete du Pont.Teth’ys. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
He has come to the end of his tether. He has outrun his fortune; he has exhausted all his resources. The reference is to a cable run out to the bitter end (see BITTER END), or to the lines upon lines in whale fishing. If the whale runs out all-the lines it gets away and is lost.   1
   Horace calls the end of life “ultima linca rerum,” the end of the goal, referring to the white chalk mark at the end of a racecourse.   2

 Tete du Pont.Teth’ys. 


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