[last, lahst]
See more synonyms for last on
adjective a superl. of late with later as compar.
  1. occurring or coming after all others, as in time, order, or place: the last line on a page.
  2. most recent; next before the present; latest: last week; last Friday.
  3. being the only one remaining: my last dollar; the last outpost; a last chance.
  4. final: in his last hours.
  5. ultimate or conclusive; definitive: the last word in the argument.
  6. lowest in prestige or importance: last prize.
  7. coming after all others in suitability or likelihood; least desirable: He is the last person we'd want to represent us.
  8. individual; single: The lecture won't start until every last person is seated.
  9. utmost; extreme: the last degree of delight.
  10. Ecclesiastical. (of the sacraments of penance, viaticum, or extreme unction) extreme or final; administered to a person dying or in danger of dying.
  1. after all others; latest: He arrived last at the party.
  2. on the most recent occasion: When last seen, the suspect was wearing a checked suit.
  3. in the end; finally; in conclusion.
  1. a person or thing that is last.
  2. a final appearance or mention: We've seen the last of her. That's the last we'll hear of it.
  3. the end or conclusion: We are going on vacation the last of September.
  1. at last, after a lengthy pause or delay: He was lost in thought for several minutes, but at last he spoke.
  2. at long last, after much troublesome or frustrating delay: The ship docked at long last.
  3. breathe one's last, to die: He was nearly 90 when he breathed his last.

Origin of last

before 900; Middle English last, latst, syncopated variant of latest, Old English latest, lætest, superlative of læt, late
Can be confusedlast penultimate ultimate

Synonyms for last

See more synonyms for on
1. Last, final, ultimate refer to what comes as an ending. That which is last comes or stands after all others in a stated series or succession; last may refer to objects or activities: a seat in the last row; the last game. That which is final comes at the end, or serves to end or terminate, admitting of nothing further; final is rarely used of objects: to make a final attempt. That which is ultimate (literally, most remote) is the last that can be reached, as in progression or regression, experience, or a course of investigation: ultimate truths. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for at last


adjective (often prenominal)
  1. being, happening, or coming at the end or after all othersthe last horse in the race
  2. being or occurring just before the present; most recentlast Thursday
  3. last but not least coming last in order but nevertheless important
  4. last but one next to last
  5. only remainingone's last cigarette
  6. most extreme; utmost
  7. least suitable, appropriate, or likelyhe was the last person I would have chosen
  8. (esp relating to the end of a person's life or of the world)
    1. final or ultimatelast rites
    2. (capital)the Last Judgment
  9. (postpositive) Liverpool dialect inferior, unpleasant, or contemptiblethis ale is last
  1. after all others; at or in the endhe came last
    1. most recentlyhe was last seen in the mountains
    2. (in combination)last-mentioned
  2. (sentence modifier) as the last or latest item
  1. the last
    1. a person or thing that is last
    2. the final moment; end
  2. one's last moments before death
  3. the last thing a person can do (esp in the phrase breathe one's last)
  4. the final appearance, mention, or occurrencewe've seen the last of him
  5. at last in the end; finally
  6. at long last finally, after difficulty, delay, or irritation

Word Origin for last

variant of Old English latest, lætest, superlative of late


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


  1. (when intr, often foll by for) to remain in being (for a length of time); continuehis hatred lasted for several years
  2. to be sufficient for the needs of (a person) for (a length of time)it will last us until Friday
  3. (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 Formslaster, noun

Word Origin for last

Old English lǣstan; related to Gothic laistjan to follow


  1. the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired
  1. (tr) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
Derived Formslaster, noun

Word Origin for last

Old English lǣste, from lāst footprint; related to Old Norse leistr foot, Gothic laists


  1. 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 for last

Old English hlæst load; related to hladan to lade 1
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

Word Origin and History for at last


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

Idioms and Phrases with at last

at last

Also, at long last. After a long time, finally, as in At last the speeches ended and dinner was served, or Harry's got his degree at long last. The first term dates from about 1200, the variant from the early 1500s. Also see at length, def. 2.


In addition to the idioms beginning with last

  • last analysis
  • last but not least
  • last fling
  • last gasp
  • last laugh, have the
  • last resort
  • last straw, the
  • last word, the

also see:

  • at last
  • at the last minute
  • breathe one's last
  • each and every (last one)
  • famous last words
  • first and last
  • head for (the last roundup)
  • in the final (last) analysis
  • on one's last legs
  • see the last of
  • stick to one's last
  • to the last
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.