• synonyms


[last, lahst]
  1. a wooden or metal form in the shape of the human foot on which boots or shoes are shaped or repaired.
  2. the shape or form of a shoe.
Show More
verb (used with object)
  1. to shape on or fit to a last.
Show More
  1. stick to one's last, to keep to that work, field, etc., in which one is competent or skilled.
Show More

Origin of last3

before 900; Middle English lest(e), last(e), Old English lǣste; cognate with German Leisten; akin to Old English lāst, Gothic laists track
Related formslast·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for stick to one's 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
Show More
  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
Show More
  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
Show More

Word Origin

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
Show More
See also last out
Derived Formslaster, noun

Word Origin

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
Show More
  1. (tr) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
Show More
Derived Formslaster, noun

Word Origin

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
Show More

Word Origin

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 stick to one's 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.

Show More



"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.

Show More



"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.).

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stick to one's last

stick to one's last

Keep to what you know and don't interfere out of your province, as in Let me handle the defense in this suit; you stick to your last and track down more eyewitnesses. This adage comes from an ancient story about a shoemaker criticizing a work by a Greek painter named Apelles, saying that the shoe in the picture was not correctly portrayed. After the painter corrected it, the shoemaker pointed out an error in the leg, whereupon the painter said, “Shoemaker, do not go above your last.” Over the centuries the story was repeated, and the expression still is sometimes put as cobbler, stick to your last, even though cobblers are nearly obsolete.

Show More


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