attempt

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last-ditch attempt

A final effort or attempt to solve a problem or avoid failure or defeat, especially after a series of failures or setbacks. The home team is mounting one last-ditch attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill.
See also: attempt

a ˌlast-ditch ˈstand/atˈtempt/ˈeffort

a final attempt to avoid defeat: They are making a last-ditch stand to save the company.This is a last-ditch attempt to stop the strike. Ditch in this idiom refers to a long channel built to defend an area against attack.
See also: attempt, effort, stand
References in classic literature ?
"And have your notions changed?" asked Dantes with much surprise; "do you think yourself more guilty in making the attempt since you have encountered me?"
In my note to Carthoris I had given explicit directions for locating the Carrion Caves, impressing upon him the necessity for making entrance to the country beyond through this avenue, and not to attempt under any circumstances to cross the ice-barrier with a fleet.
With their sharp hooks the combatants attempted to take hold of an adversary, but like lightning the cupshaped shield would spring before the darting weapon and into its hollow the hook would plunge.
And this had been the end of all the other brave men who like himself had attempted the ascent.
But a kind of continuation of the Tales of my Landlord had been recently attempted by a stranger, and it was supposed this Dedicatory Epistle might pass for some imitation of the same kind, and thus putting enquirers upon a false scent, induce them to believe they had before them the work of some new candidate for their favour.
But, not to mention that the prejudices of the age rendered such an union almost impossible, the author may, in passing, observe, that he thinks a character of a highly virtuous and lofty stamp, is degraded rather than exalted by an attempt to reward virtue with temporal prosperity.
Admitting (as I could not deny) the general truth of these conclusions, I cannot but think it strange that no attempt has been made to excite an interest for the traditions and manners of Old England, similiar to that which has been obtained in behalf of those of our poorer and less celebrated neighbours.
This made them leap from the springboard beyond their normal powers, hurting and straining and injuring them in their desperate attempt to escape the whip-lash, to beat the whip- lash in the air and be past ere it could catch their flying flanks and sting them like a scorpion.
That thou wouldst rob me of it is clear, for when Camilla sees that I pay court to her as thou requirest, she will certainly regard me as a man without honour or right feeling, since I attempt and do a thing so much opposed to what I owe to my own position and thy friendship.
This being so, thou must remember that I am now labouring under that infirmity which women sometimes suffer from, when the craving seizes them to eat clay, plaster, charcoal, and things even worse, disgusting to look at, much more to eat; so that it will be necessary to have recourse to some artifice to cure me; and this can be easily effected if only thou wilt make a beginning, even though it be in a lukewarm and make-believe fashion, to pay court to Camilla, who will not be so yielding that her virtue will give way at the first attack: with this mere attempt I shall rest satisfied, and thou wilt have done what our friendship binds thee to do, not only in giving me life, but in persuading me not to discard my honour.
Phileas Fogg and Sir Francis Cromarty also saw that nothing could be attempted in that direction.
After a last consultation, the guide announced that he was ready for the attempt, and advanced, followed by the others.
They again hid themselves in the wood, and waited till the disturbance, whatever it might be, ceased, holding themselves ready to resume their attempt without delay.
They attempted, accordingly, to penetrate the mountains by following up one of the branches of the Popo Agie, but soon found themselves in the midst of stupendous crags and precipices that barred all progress.
At one place, they were obliged to slide their horses down the face of a rock, in which attempt some of the poor animals lost their footing, rolled to the bottom, and came near being dashed to pieces.