last resort

A final expedient or recourse to achieve some end or settle a difficulty. For example, If you don't improve, we'll try this new medication as a last resort. This term originally referred to a court of law from which there was no appeal. [Late 1600s]

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

Related Words for last resort

recourse, resort

Examples from the Web for last resort

Historical Examples of last resort

  • From her bed she gave her orders—desperate, last-resort orders to a defeated garrison.

    Home Fires in France

    Dorothy Canfield

  • That is the last resort, as it robs us of our only safeguard against meteorites, but this is the time for last-resort measures.

    The Skylark of Space

    Edward Elmer Smith and Lee Hawkins Garby

  • The contortions of the trainmaster's homely features indicated an inward struggle of the last-resort nature.