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last-ditch effort

A desperate final attempt, as in We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. This expression alludes to the military sense of last ditch, “the last line of defense.” Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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