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last

1
[last, lahst]
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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.
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adverb
  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.
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noun
  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.
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Idioms
  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.
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Origin of last

1
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

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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.

breathe

[breeth]
verb (used without object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
  1. to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.
  2. (in speech) to control the outgoing breath in producing voice and speech sounds.
  3. to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe?
  4. to move gently or blow lightly, as air.
  5. to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.
  6. to be redolent of.
  7. (of a material) to allow air and moisture to pass through easily: The jacket is comfortable because the fabric breathes.
  8. (of the skin) to absorb oxygen and give off perspiration.
  9. (of a wine) to be exposed to air after being uncorked, in order to develop flavor and bouquet.
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verb (used with object), breathed [breethd] /briðd/, breath·ing.
  1. to inhale and exhale in respiration.
  2. to exhale: Dragons breathe fire.
  3. to inject as if by breathing; infuse: She breathed life into the party.
  4. to give utterance to; whisper.
  5. to express; manifest.
  6. to allow to rest or recover breath: to breathe a horse.
  7. to deprive of breath; tire; exhaust.
  8. to cause to pant; exercise.
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Idioms
  1. breathe down someone's neck,
    1. to be close to someone in pursuit; menace; threaten: Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
    2. to watch someone closely so as to supervise or control: If everyone keeps breathing down my neck, how can I get my work done?
  2. breathe freely, to have relief from anxiety, tension, or pressure: Now that the crisis was over, he could breathe freely.Also breathe easily, breathe easy.
  3. breathe one's last, to die: He breathed his last and was buried in the churchyard.
  4. not breathe a word/syllable, to maintain secrecy; keep a matter confidential: I'll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word.
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Origin of breathe

1250–1300; Middle English brethen, derivative of breath
Related formsout·breathe, verb (used with object), out·breathed, out·breath·ing.pre·breathe, verb (used with object), pre·breathed, pre·breath·ing.
Can be confusedbreadth breath breathe

Synonyms for breathe

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for breathe one's last

drown, expire, perish, succumb, decease, finish, depart, drop, suffocate, demise, conk, croak

British Dictionary definitions for breathe one's last

breathe

verb
  1. to take in oxygen from (the surrounding medium, esp air) and give out carbon dioxide; respire
  2. (intr) to exist; be aliveevery animal that breathes on earth
  3. (intr) to rest to regain breath, composure, etcstop your questions, and give me a chance to breathe
  4. (intr) (esp of air) to blow lightlythe wind breathed through the trees
  5. (intr) machinery
    1. to take in air, esp for combustionthe engine breathes through this air filter
    2. to equalize the pressure within a container, chamber, etc, with atmospheric pressurethe crankcase breathes through this duct
  6. (tr) phonetics to articulate (a speech sound) without vibration of the vocal cordsCompare voice (def. 19)
  7. to exhale or emitthe dragon breathed fire
  8. (tr) to impart; instilto breathe confidence into the actors
  9. (tr) to speak softly; whisperto breathe words of love
  10. (tr) to permit to restto breathe a horse
  11. (intr) (of a material) to allow air to pass through so that perspiration can evaporate
  12. breathe again, breathe freely or breathe easily to feel reliefI could breathe again after passing the exam
  13. breathe down someone's neck to stay close to someone, esp to oversee what they are doingthe cops are breathing down my neck
  14. breathe one's last to die or be finished or defeated
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Word Origin for breathe

C13: from breath

last

1
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
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adverb
  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
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noun
  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
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Word Origin for last

variant of Old English latest, lætest, superlative of late

usage

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

last

2
verb
  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
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See also last out
Derived Formslaster, noun

Word Origin for last

Old English lǣstan; related to Gothic laistjan to follow

last

3
noun
  1. the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired
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verb
  1. (tr) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
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Derived Formslaster, noun

Word Origin for last

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

last

4
noun
  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
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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 breathe one's last

breathe

v.

c.1300, not in Old English, but it retains the original Old English vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathed; breathing.

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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.

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last

v.

"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.

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last

n.

"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.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with breathe one's last

breathe one's last

Die, as in Aunt Agatha breathed her last on Tuesday. This term was used by Shakespeare in 3 Henry VI (5:2): “Montague has breathed his last.” It has survived but today is considered a poetic euphemism.

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breathe

In addition to the idioms beginning with breathe

  • breathe down someone's neck
  • breathe easy
  • breathe life into
  • breathe one's last

also see:

  • as I live and breathe
  • breathing space
  • not breathe a word
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last

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
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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.