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(one's) last gasp

The final moment or action before one can no longer continue to live, function, compete, fight, etc. Many believe the company's latest product could be their last gasp—if it flops, many predict they'll go under. This debate is likely his last gasp to keep his election hopes alive.
See also: gasp, last

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

gasp at (someone or something)

To make a sharp or sudden inhale ("gasp") in surprise at someone or something. I gasped at my mom when she told me I wasn't allowed to go to the party. We all gasped at the news of Mary's pregnancy.
See also: gasp

gasp for air

To gasp or pant heavily due to having difficulty breathing, as after strenuous activity or holding one's breath. Kelsey's head popped out of the water, and she started gasping for air. The kids sprinted up the steps and were gasping for air by the time they arrived on the fourth floor.
See also: air, gasp

gasp for breath

To gasp or pant heavily due to having difficulty breathing, as after strenuous activity or holding one's breath. Kelsey's head popped out of the water, and she started gasping for breath. The kids sprinted up the steps and were gasping for breath by the time they arrived on the fourth floor.
See also: breath, gasp

gasp out

To say something with difficulty or in a labored manner. A noun or pronoun can be used between "gasp" and "out." Luckily, the patient managed to gasp her symptoms out before collapsing. Kelsey's head popped out of the water, and she immediately gasped out, "How long was I under?"
See also: gasp, out


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.

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

the/(one's) last gasp

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 gasp.
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 gasp! Even as their stocks plummeted, the company maintained a public image of success right to their last gasp. Some say we're seeing capitalism's last gasp, but I think that view ignores a lot of factors.
3. One's or something's final attempt to succeed or else face failure, death, destruction, etc. The play was their last gasp to tie the game, but the quarterback fumbled the snap. Many see this latest video game console as the company's last gasp, especially following the disastrous flop of their last one.
See also: gasp, last

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

last gasp, the

Nearing the end; on the point of death. The gasp here literally means one’s breath, but the term often is used loosely to mean either extremely tired (exhausted) or a final effort. In the first meaning the term appears in one of the Apocryphal books of the Bible (2 Maccabees 7:9) and in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part I, 1.2, where Joan of Arc tells Charles, “Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.”
See also: last
References in periodicals archive ?
GASP is a leading fashion house founded in 1993 in Melbourne, Australia.
The authors can be contacted at and Figure 1 Predictive Power--GASP Valid Generally GASP Narrative Accepted Scheduling Principles (GASP) 1 Complete Schedules represent all authorized effort for the entire contract, with essential subcontracted or other external work or milestones integrated yet distinguishable from internal work.
'we all have one'!!!, which elicited gasps from the audience and a standing ovation.
"Our SID is a key element to making GASP the best software asset management tool in the market," said Herbert M.
Mark Osborne of GASP recounts how members of the group essentially put their lives on hold for six years while they fought the proposal.
Parkersburg, WV, January 09, 2013 --( Nutrition Pit has just announced that they are now offering GASP bodybuilding clothing to kick-off 2013.
When you see the prices at the higher end of what's available in our high streets rather than gasp at the price ticket what should make you gasp is the quality and the tailoring.
This is the definite history of a confederate military unit that fought throughout the Civil War including action at Seven Pines, with Stonewall Jackson at Cedar Mountain, at the Second Battle of Manassa, at Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and finally, at Fort Gregg at the final gasp of military action.
On the other hand, a gasp is a much more rapid, dramatic intake of air.
(Gasp at the artist's ability to balance ice-cream cones on his nose!) Beneath the engaging tomfoolery, however, his is a theoretically sophisticated, consciously political practice.
He achieves revenge in a showstopping Don Quixote pas de deux, where he both gets the girl (Sharon Wehner, no technical slouch herself) and makes the audience gasp at his more-than-multiple turns, extraordinary elevation, and admirable control.
one of the most respected and feared environmentalists in the state, and h as organized Groups Allied to Stop Pollution (GASP), a statewide network that monitors toxic bad boys in Texas.
But while Mr Straw stayed loyal to Mr Brown, he admitted the Government is struggling and the soaring price of fuel made him "gasp".