[last, lahst]

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 last

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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for last out

last out

verb (adverb)

(intr) to be sufficient for one's needshow long will our supplies last out?
(tr) to endure or survivesome old people don't last out the winter



adjective (often prenominal)

being, happening, or coming at the end or after all othersthe last horse in the race
being or occurring just before the present; most recentlast Thursday
last but not least coming last in order but nevertheless important
last but one next to last
only remainingone's last cigarette
most extreme; utmost
least suitable, appropriate, or likelyhe 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 ultimatelast rites
  2. (capital)the Last Judgment
(postpositive) Liverpool dialect inferior, unpleasant, or contemptiblethis ale is last


after all others; at or in the endhe came last
  1. most recentlyhe 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 occurrencewe've seen the last of him
at last in the end; finally
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




(when intr, often foll by for) to remain in being (for a length of time); continuehis 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 Formslaster, noun

Word Origin for last

Old English lǣstan; related to Gothic laistjan to follow




the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired


(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




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 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

Idioms and Phrases with last out


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.