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do one's best

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Also, do one's level best or one's damnedest. Perform as well as one can, do the utmost possible, as in I'm doing my best to balance this statement, or She did her level best to pass the course, or He did his damnedest to get done in time. The first term dates from the 16th century, but the addition of level, here meaning “very,” occurred only in the mid-1800s; the variant dates from the late 1800s.

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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.

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