do or die(redirected from do-or-die)
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do or die
1. adjective Of or pertaining to the last chance to succeed in a given situation, such that the utmost energy and effort must be put forth to do so. Hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. Trailing by two points with only 45 seconds remaining, the game is now do or die for the home team. I have to get an A on this essay if I'm going to pass the class, so it's a do-or-die situation now.
2. verb To put forth the utmost energy and effort or else fail altogether. This is a cutthroat business, and you must do or die if you wish to survive.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
do or die
Exert supreme effort because failure is close at hand, as in Carol was going to set up the computer, do or die. This hyperbolic expression in effect says one will not be deterred by any obstacle. [c. 1600]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
do or diepersist in the face of great danger, even if death is the result.
1992 Daily Star It's do or die for Britain's fearless Rugby League lads Down Under as they prepare to face the Aussies in the Third and deciding Test.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
do or die
mod. having to try as hard as one can. He has the obsessive do or die attitude.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
do or die, to
To make a last-ditch effort. This extreme measure was first recorded in print in the seventeenth century. An early use occurs in John Fletcher’s play The Island Princess (1621), where a character says, “Do or die” (2.4). Before long it came to be used figuratively, although it reverted to literal use (and changed form) in Tennyson’s “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1854): “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.”
See also: to
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer