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[last, lahst] /læst, lɑst/
verb (used without object)
to go on or continue in time:
The festival lasted three weeks.
to continue unexpended or unexhausted; be enough:
We'll enjoy ourselves while our money lasts.
to continue in force, vigor, effectiveness, etc.:
to last for the whole course.
to continue or remain in usable condition for a reasonable period of time:
They were handsome shoes but they didn't last.
verb (used with object)
to continue to survive for the duration of (often followed by out):
They lasted the war in Switzerland.
Origin of last2
before 900; Middle English lasten, Old English lǣstan to follow (literally, go in the tracks of), perform, continue, last; cognate with German laisten to follow, Gothic laistjan. See last3
Synonym Study
1. See continue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for last out
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The man who is the last out and the first in when all hands are called.

  • With these and the lamps we may have sufficient light to last out our trip.

    The River of Darkness William Murray Graydon
  • You once said he could not last out a certain twenty-four-hour race.

    From the Car Behind

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • He knew the food could not last out, and was saving his rations for the time of emergency.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild
  • “I only hope I can last out until I get home,” 172 he went on.

  • He has been long in contempt, and at last out of money, and then men cry 'alas!'

    Microcosmography John Earle
  • There was not enough to last out the voyage, but we had guns and powder.

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • Food must be gathered and stored, enough to last out the long winter.

    Planet of the Damned Harry Harrison
  • The doctors, however, had pronounced him at last out of danger.

    In the Track of the Troops R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for last out

last out

verb (adverb)
(intransitive) to be sufficient for one's needs: how long will our supplies last out?
(transitive) to endure or survive: some old people don't last out the winter


adjective (often prenominal)
being, happening, or coming at the end or after all others: the last horse in the race
being or occurring just before the present; most recent: last Thursday
last but not least, coming last in order but nevertheless important
last but one, next to last
only remaining: one's last cigarette
most extreme; utmost
least suitable, appropriate, or likely: he was the last person I would have chosen
(esp relating to the end of a person's life or of the world)
  1. final or ultimate: last rites
  2. (capital): the Last Judgment
(postpositive) (Liverpool, dialect) inferior, unpleasant, or contemptible: this ale is last
after all others; at or in the end: he came last
  1. most recently: he was last seen in the mountains
  2. (in combination): last-mentioned
(sentence modifier) as the last or latest item
the last
  1. a person or thing that is last
  2. the final moment; end
one's last moments before death
the last thing a person can do (esp in the phrase breathe one's last)
the final appearance, mention, or occurrence: we've seen the last of him
at last, in the end; finally
at long last, finally, after difficulty, delay, or irritation
Usage note
Since last can mean either after all others or most recent, it is better to avoid using this word where ambiguity might arise as in her last novel. Final or latest should be used in such contexts to avoid ambiguity
Word Origin
variant of Old English latest, lætest, superlative of late


when intr, often foll by for. to remain in being (for a length of time); continue: his hatred lasted for several years
to be sufficient for the needs of (a person) for (a length of time): it will last us until Friday
when intr, often foll by for. to remain fresh, uninjured, or unaltered (for a certain time or duration): he lasted for three hours underground
See also last out
Derived Forms
laster, noun
Word Origin
Old English lǣstan; related to Gothic laistjan to follow


the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired
(transitive) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
Derived Forms
laster, noun
Word Origin
Old English lǣste, from lāst footprint; related to Old Norse leistr foot, Gothic laists


a unit of weight or capacity having various values in different places and for different commodities. Commonly used values are 2 tons, 2000 pounds, 80 bushels, or 640 gallons
Word Origin
Old English hlæst load; related to hladan to lade1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for last out


adj., adv.

"following all others," from Old English latost (adj.) and lætest (adv.), superlative of læt (see late). Cognate with Old Frisian lest, Dutch laatst, Old High German laggost, German letzt. Meaning "most recent" is from c.1200. The noun, "last person or thing," is c.1200, from the adjective. Last hurrah is from the title of Edwin O'Connor's 1956 novel. Last word "final, definitive statement" is from 1650s. A dying person's last words so called by 1740. As an adjective, last-minute attested from 1913. Last-chance (adj.) is from 1962.



"endure, go on existing," from Old English læstan "to continue, endure," earlier "accomplish, carry out," literally "to follow a track," from Proto-Germanic *laistjan "to follow a track" (cf. Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old Frisian lasta "to fulfill, to pay (duties)," German leisten "to perform, achieve, afford"), from PIE *leis- "track, furrow."

Related to last (n.), not to last (adj.). Related: Lasted; lasting.



"shoemaker's block," from Old English læste, from last "track, footprint, trace," from Proto-Germanic *laist- (cf. Old Norse leistr "the foot," Middle Dutch, Dutch leest "form, model, last," Old High German leist "track, footprint," German Leisten "last," Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old English læran "to teach"); see last (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with last out
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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