(There's) No Rest For The Weary: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
May 15, 2023

"No rest for the weary" refers to the persistent demands or responsibilities that prevent one from relaxing or taking a break. It's often associated with continuous work, never-ending tasks, or relentless challenges.

In short:

"No rest for the weary" suggests that constant demands or duties prevent one from resting or relaxing.

What Does "(There's) No Rest for the Weary" Mean?

The idiom "no rest for the weary" conveys the idea that responsibilities or challenges never cease, preventing one from resting. This phrase often surfaces in situations of ongoing work, relentless tasks, or persistent challenges. Depending on the situation, the phrase could indicate a gentle reminder of responsibilities or a lament over an overwhelming workload.

Key aspects of the idiom's meaning include:

  • Signifies incessant work or challenges
  • Associated with continuous responsibility or unyielding demands

Where Does "(There's) No Rest for the Weary" Come From?

The proverb "there's no rest for the weary" has been in circulation for centuries, with its origins in the Book of Isaiah, 48:22, from the Bible. The original phrase, "no rest for the wicked," suggests that those feeling exhausted and overworked won't find a moment's respite. This saying has evolved into a familiar expression in day-to-day conversation, employed to portray circumstances where an individual feels swamped and incapable of taking a breather.

Historical Example

"For there was no rest for the weary, food for the hungry, nor medicines for the sick and wounded, because they
had left all their baggage in their former camp, and taken nothing along with them but their arms."

- T. Livius's Roman History from the Building of the City, with the Supplement of J. Freinsheim, 1761

Although the phrase typically carries a negative connotation, it can also be interpreted as an encouraging call to action, inspiring individuals to persist through difficulties and remain driven. In the UK, the word 'wicked' is frequently used in this phrase, whereas 'weary' is the preferred term in the US.

10 Examples of "(There's) No Rest for the Weary" in Sentences

Here are some examples of using the idiom in sentences:

  • I still have to feed the cats, clean the kitchen, do the laundry, and so on and so forth. Truly, there's no rest for the weary.
  • I thought I dodged a bullet, but another problem was waiting for us. It seemed like there was no rest for the weary.
  • Between juggling work, school, and parenting, there's no rest for the weary in Sarah's life.
  • When I inquired about the unfinished report, the boss assigned it to me instead. It's indeed no rest for the weary.
  • No rest for the weary as we immediately embarked on our next task after completing the previous one.
  • The professor wanted me to submit the paper at my earliest convenience. Truly, there's no rest for the weary.
  • As a nurse working long hours and night shifts, it's certainly no rest for the weary.
  • After finishing the marathon, I had to start training for the next one. No rest for the weary!
  • Even after a long flight, the team had to attend a meeting. Indeed, there's no rest for the weary.
  • I have my heart in volunteering, but it looks like there's no rest for the weary this week.

Examples of "(There's) No Rest for the Weary" in Pop Culture

The phrase "no rest for the weary" is quite popular in media, usually appearing in contexts highlighting the relentless nature of life or work challenges.

Some examples include:

  • A quote from the 2013 horror fiction book Infection and Containment: "No rest for the weary. That was a phrase she'd heard batted around the handful of offices at which she had worked."
  • A song by the American hip-hop duo Blue Scholars is called "No Rest For The Weary."
  • An episode of the TV series Storm Chasers is titled "No Rest For The Weary" (Season 5, Episode 5).

Other/Different Ways to Say "(There's) No Rest for the Weary"

Several alternative expressions convey a similar meaning to "no rest for the weary."

Some of these include:

  • Work never ceases
  • It's non-stop
  • No time to breathe
  • Constant hustle
  • Always on the go

You can use these alternatives interchangeably, depending on the context and the intensity of the workload or challenges.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "(There's) No Rest for the Weary"

  • Is "no rest for the weary" a formal expression?

"No rest for the weary" is considered neutral and can be used in both formal and informal contexts, depending on the situation being discussed.

  • Can people use the idiom sarcastically?

Yes, the phrase can be used sarcastically, especially when referring to a situation where one might expect a break but doesn't get one.

  • Is the phrase appropriate for professional settings?

Yes, it can be used in professional settings, particularly to highlight the constant demands or challenges of a job or a project.

  • Can people use the phrase in written communication?

The phrase can be used in both informal and formal written communication, including emails, reports, and text messages.

  • Are there any regional differences in using the phrase?

"No rest for the weary" is widely recognized in English-speaking countries and is generally understood across different regions, although alternative expressions may be more prevalent in some areas.

  • Can strangers use the phrase "no rest for the weary"?

Yes, the phrase is not context-specific and can be used by anyone in any situation that involves continuous work or relentless challenges.

  • Is it okay to use the phrase when talking about a group of people?

Yes, it can be used when discussing a group's actions or decisions, such as "there was no rest for the weary workers."

  • Is it okay to use the phrase to express fatigue?

Yes, it can be used to express fatigue or exhaustion, particularly due to incessant work or challenges.

  • What's the difference between "no rest for the weary" and "burning the candle at both ends"?

While both phrases indicate a state of continuous work or effort, "no rest for the weary" emphasizes the lack of a break despite fatigue, whereas "burning the candle at both ends" suggests working excessively hard to the point of potential burnout.

  • Can one use the phrase in a motivational context?

Yes, the phrase can be used in a motivational context, especially to highlight resilience, tenacity, or a strong work ethic in the face of continuous challenges.

Final Thoughts About "(There's) No Rest for the Weary"

In conclusion, the idiom "no rest for the weary" is a versatile expression used to depict the continuous nature of work or the relentless challenges that people often face. This neutral phrase is applicable across various settings and situations, from the hustle of daily life to the demands of professional responsibilities.

Key aspects of the phrase:

  • Depicts the concept of incessant work or relentless challenges
  • Expresses resilience or tenacity in the face of continuous demands
  • The neutral tone, suitable for both formal and informal settings

While the phrase is commonly recognized and widely used, its application usually implies a sense of constant hustle or ongoing challenges. Therefore, it's most relevant in contexts that reflect an understanding or experience of continuous work or persistent demands.

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