is there any difference between "das Ende" and "der Schluss" in meaning? Can it be used interchangeably as synonyms?
They can be used as synonyms in some contexts, but they also have some very different meanings.
"Schluss" can mean the conclusion of some action or argument. "Ende" can not be used in that context. Although you could say:
Am Ende kam ich zu dem Schluss, dass ...
Conversely, "Ende" often refers to the end of some physical things. "Schluss" generally can't do that:
Am Ende der Straße machte er Schluss.
Generally, "Ende" refers to the end of some physical object or process, but "Schluss" refers to the conclusion of some process, argument, thought, performance etc.
Have a saying illustrating the ambiguity of "Ende":
Alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei.
Am Ende or
zum Schluss may be a bit like a synonym in several cases where they are used in an action context.
Am Ende der Handlung. Zum Schluss der Handlung
Ende is also used for termination points like
Am Ende der Straße. Im that case you can't use
Schluss is also used as
Es lässt den Schluss zu where you can't use
Schluss may look like synonyms, but there are not interchangeable in general.
Yes, they are synonyms, but they are used differently in certain idioms, for example:
it's always "das dicke Ende", but never "der dicke Schluss"
to end an informal love relationship (not a marriage), you can say "mit jemandem Schluss machen"
"Schluss damit!" means "stop that!", and again, "Ende damit" would not fit
"von Anfang bis Ende" --- from start to finish ("Anfang bis Schluss" würde man nicht sagen)
"am Ende des Films"
Additionally to @Robert's answer, Schluss has different meanings.
- Schluss in the meaning of end which is discussed in another answer
- Schluss as derivation of some statement, eg
- Er kam zu dem Schluss, dass es sinnlos ist.
- Schluss has also a meaning in electronics, eg
- Kurzschluss is short circuit
- Schluss is also the noun to schließen, but this is mostly obsolete.