the/(one's) last breath

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the/(one's) last breath

1. The final moment before one dies; the last period of one's life. Even though my grandfather's lungs were riddled with cancer and emphysema, he remained a smoker until his very last breath.
2. The last moment before a person or group ultimately fails or must give up. We might be down by 10 points, but we have to keep on fighting to the last breath! Even as their stocks plummeted, the company maintained a public image of success right to their last breath.
See also: breath, last
References in classic literature ?
Oh," cried the Farmer with his last breath, "I am rightly served for pitying a scoundrel.
An excellent man, who only wanted somebody to manage him; and, between ourselves, he found somebody to do it; and what is more, he throve on it and grew fat on it, and lived happy and died easy on it, dating from the day when my lady took him to church to be married, to the day when she relieved him of his last breath, and closed his eyes for ever.
Poligny, at a moment when the poor man was nearly drawing his last breath.
And in his last breath reproached me for stooping to a boor
Said with his last breath that he considered service the most honourable part of his career, and so it was.
I have seen a man gasp out his last breath for less.
It was Karl Yundt who was heard, implacable to his last breath.
A man may destroy everything within himself, love and hate and belief, and even doubt; but as long as he clings to life he cannot destroy fear: the fear, subtle, indestructible, and terrible, that pervades his being; that tinges his thoughts; that lurks in his heart; that watches on his lips the struggle of his last breath.
There was the very glass he had just drunk from; there lay the ashes from the pipe which he had smoked, as it were, with his last breath.
They said that my uncle was a friend of theirs, that he had died some months before in great poverty in Johannesburg, and that he had asked them with his last breath to hunt up his relations, and see that they were in no want.
It might be difficult -- and it was so -- to conceive how he should exist hereafter, so earthly and sensuous did he seem; but surely his existence here, admitting that it was to terminate with his last breath, had been not unkindly given; with no higher moral responsibilities than the beasts of the field, but with a larger scope of enjoyment than theirs, and with all their blessed immunity from the dreariness and duskiness of age.
The Kardashian children rarely visited Robert once he began cancer treatment- At the moment Robert took his last breath, none of his children were by his side, opting instead to attend a party at Kourtney's home," Ellen stated, according to Radar Online.
He was elected as president of PCLATA where he had been serving till his last breath.
PANJGUR -- Secretary General of BNP(A) and candidate from PB-42 and 43, Mir Asad Baloch has stated that he will continue to serve masses till his last breath and attacks on his life cannot his resolve for parliamentary struggle for Baloch cause.