last gasp

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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.

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

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 ?
Of Saturday's last gasp agony, he said, 'It was a bad third goal to give away.
Martyn: Won it with late try; Wilson: Last gasp winner
WE'VE BEEN DOWN in The Bunker before, but what separates Oliver Hirschbiegel's painstaking and provocative look at the last gasp of Hitler's Third Reich, ``Downfall,'' is that, for the first time since 1956, it's a German filmmaker who's sifting through the rubble.
The Jackrabbits, who had not lost to Loyola since 1973 and had eliminated them from the playoffs in four of the past six years, had one last gasp.
But two minutes from time Fairbairn fired home a last gasp winner after a superb run down the right.
Analyzing a trove of data collected nearly a decade ago by the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers observed what seems to be the last gasp emitted by gaseous material spiraling into Cygnus X-1, a suspected black hole 6,000 light-years from Earth.
It is just Davis' last gasp, adding to his legacy with one final attempt to buy votes under false pretenses.
4 COVE fought back from 3-1 down to snatch a last gasp winner in a seven-goal thriller.
That makes it a good time to enjoy the last gasp of the summer season's many events, free and otherwise, that draw crowds from all over the city to destinations such as Skirball Center, the Hollywood Bowl, Santa Monica Pier, and the many clubs and venues throughout the city.
GOAL-HERO DavidBeaton fired home a last gasp winner to earn basement boys Forfar three points.
As material spirals into a black hole, it emits a last gasp of X-rays.
The Bulls missed their absolute last gasp when Rose had a shot blocked by Sean Rooks, and then the Bulls had a turnover inbounding the ball with 3.
The Ports slipped SEVEN points behind the champions on Saturday after Darren Boyce's last gasp volley gave Glentoran a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw at the Oval.
After Maggette made 1 of 2 free throws, the Bulls missed their absolute last gasp when Rose had a shot blocked by Sean Rooks.
And TV bosses must be careful to avoid turning the last gasp of a human into a peep show.