gasp

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at the last gasp

At the last possible moment or opportunity. I know they've been squabbling for weeks, but I think they'll reach an agreement at the last gasp. We all thought that Molly wouldn't make it to the meeting, but she arrived at the last gasp.
See also: gasp, last

the last gasp of (something)

The final part before the end of something, such as a period, movement, etc. Some say we're seeing the last gasp of capitalism, but I think that view ignores a lot of factors.
See also: gasp, last, of

last-gasp

Final, usually drastic or risky, with failure as the only alternative. The home team is mounting one last-gasp attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-gasp effort to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill meant to plug the debt ceiling for another year.

at the last gasp

Fig. at the very last; at the last chance; at the last minute. (Refers to someone's last breath before death.) She finally showed up at the last gasp, bringing the papers that were needed. We got there at the last gasp, just before our names were called.
See also: gasp, last

gasp at someone or something

to inhale sharply in surprise or shock at someone or something. I gasped at the sight that lay before me. I saw how weary Denise looked and I gasped at her.
See also: gasp

gasp for air

to fight for a breath of air. (After one has been deprived of air.) Walter popped to the surface of the water and gasped for air. The injured dog appeared to be gasping for air.
See also: air, gasp

gasp for breath

to labor for one's breath. (Usually because of physical exertion.) She ran and ran until she was gasping for breath. The diver finally came to the surface, gasping for breath.
See also: breath, gasp

gasp something out

to utter something, gasping. She gasped the words out haltingly. Dan was just able to gasp out the instructions before he passed out.
See also: gasp, out

last gasp

The moment before death; also, the end. For example, "Fight till the last gasp" (Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI, 1:2), or He was determined to stay at the party until the last gasp. This idiom alludes to taking one's last breath, literally (first example) or figuratively (second example). [Late 1500s]
See also: gasp, last

the last gasp

COMMON The last gasp of a long process or period of time is the very last active stage of it. The summer of '92 may be looked upon with nostalgia as the last gasp of the live rock concert era. Eleven thousand years ago, at the last gasp of the ice age, the area was covered with forest. Note: You can also use last gasp before a noun to say that something is achieved at the last possible moment. Dalziel watched his side snatch a last gasp victory with two late goals. Note: These phrases come from 2 Maccabes 7:9 in the Apocrypha of the Bible. Seven brothers and their mother were tortured by King Antiochus, and one of the brothers spoke out defiantly `when he was at his last gasp', or when he was dying.
See also: gasp, last

your (or the) last gasp

the point of death, exhaustion, or completion.
1996 Will Hutton The State We're In The failure of the 1994 rail strike was the last gasp of an old order.
See also: gasp, last

your/the last ˈgasp

the point at which you/something can no longer continue living, fighting, existing, etc: People are saying that the group’s latest actions are simply the last gasp of a dying campaign.
A gasp is a quick deep breath.
See also: gasp, last
References in periodicals archive ?
Wood's case highlighted scrutiny surrounding lethal injections after two controversial executions, including that of an Ohio inmate in January who snorted and gasped during the 26 minutes it took him to die.
FRIGHT Gaybo gasped for breath as his wife waited for ambulance
They gasped for breath with tears streaming down their faces and one woman spent 48 hours in hospital at Fuengirola on Spain's Costa del Sol.
When that famous Simi Valley jury refused to convict Rodney King's attackers, the Whole country gasped and South-Central Los Angeles and Koreatown burned.
Kelly Fitzgerald, 18, said William Pettener gasped for breath and turned blue as Avola Humphreys began cramming food into him as he lay asleep after he had refused breakfast or lunch.
Len just gasped and said, 'Who's bitten your breasts?
A DYING mother gasped in horror yesterday as her convicted killer son lost his bid for freedom.
Frequently, the crowd gasped at the force of her backhands and forehands.