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A for effort

A verbal acknowledgement of appreciation for attempting a task, even if it did not produce a successful result. You forgot to sand the wood before you painted it, but I'll give you an A for effort since you tried to help.
See also: effort, for

an all-out effort

An attempt made with one's full attention or fortitude; one's best effort. To beat the best team in the league, we need to make an all-out effort tonight, boys. As soon as I got an academic warning, I started an all-out effort to improve my grades.
See also: effort

bend (one's) efforts

To put forth a great deal of effort toward some goal or end. I've been bending my efforts to find a way out of these legal problems, but, as of now, I'm still going to prison.
See also: bend, effort

bend (one's) mind

To consider, reflect upon, or think hard about something. If you would just bend your mind, I'm sure you could find a solution to the company's excess costs.
See also: bend, mind

Herculean effort

A job, task, or activity that requires a huge amount of effort, energy, or physical strength. Sometimes used ironically or hyperbolically. But getting enough votes to pass the controversial legislation may prove to be a Herculean effort. Sometimes it feels like finding a good burger that isn't the price of a sirloin steak is a Herculean effort. It will be a Herculean effort for them to dethrone the former champions in this year's Super Bowl, but they certainly have a shot.
See also: effort

last-ditch defense

A final, desperate effort to save or protect something or to avoid failure or defeat. The soldiers are preparing for a last-ditch defense against the enemy troops. The senator made an impassioned plea on national television last night as a last-ditch defense of the controversial legislation. The experimental high-energy laser weapon could serve as last-ditch defenses against missiles and enemy aircraft.
See also: defense

last-ditch effort

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 effort in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch effort to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill meant to plug the debt ceiling for another year.
See also: effort

last-gasp effort

A final, usually drastic or risky attempt, with failure as the only alternative. The home team is mounting one last-gasp effort 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.
See also: effort

make an effort (to do something)

To put forth a moderate effort (to do, achieve, or accomplish something). I'll make an effort, but I can't guarantee that I'll be home before the party starts. I'm trying to make an effort to keep in touch with my family more often. I'm not expecting anything extravagant from her for our anniversary, but it would be nice if she made an effort.
See also: effort, make

make every effort (to do something)

To put forth the greatest possible effort (to do, achieve, or accomplish something). I'll make every effort, but I can't guarantee that I'll be home before the party starts. We've made every effort to ensure the transition process is as seamless as possible for you and your team.
See also: effort, every, make

spare no effort to (do something)

To put the maximum amount of effort into something; to work as hard as possible to do something. Police have spared no effort in securing the area ahead of the event. We will spare no effort in bringing those responsible to justice.
See also: effort, no, spare, to
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

* A for effort

Fig. acknowledgement for having tried to do something, even if it was not successful. (*Typically: get ~; give someone ~.) The plan didn't work, but I'll give you an A for effort for trying.
See also: effort, for

*an all-out effort

a very good and thorough effort. (*Typically: begin ~; have ~; make ~; start ~.) We need to make an all-out effort to get this job done on time. The government began an all-out effort to reduce the federal budget.
See also: effort

*last-ditch effort

Fig. a final effort; the last possible attempt. (*Typically: be ~; have ~; make ~.) I made one last-ditch effort to get her to stay. It was a last-ditch effort. I didn't expect it to work.
See also: effort

make every effort to do something

to try very hard to accomplish something. I will make every effort to be there on time.
See also: effort, every, make, to
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

all out

With all one's strength, ability, or resources; not holding back. For example, They are going all out to make the fund-raiser a success. This seemingly modern term dates from about 1300, when it meant "completely" or "wholly." It now refers to making a great effort and is also used adjectivally, as in an all-out effort. This usage became current in America in the late 1800s, with reference to races and other kinds of athletic exertion. In the mid-1900s it gave rise to the phrase to go all out and was transferred to just about any energetic undertaking. Also see go whole hog.
See also: all, out

last-ditch effort

A desperate final attempt, as in We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. This expression alludes to the military sense of last ditch, "the last line of defense." Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
See also: effort
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.

all out

using all your strength or resources.
See also: all, out
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

bend your ˈmind/ˈefforts to something

(formal) think very hard about or put a lot of effort into one particular thing
See also: bend, effort, mind, something, to

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

all out

With all one's strength, ability, or resources.
See also: all, out
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

last-ditch defense/effort

A desperate final measure. In military terminology of the seventeenth century the “last ditch” was the ultimate line of defense. By the eighteenth century the term was being used figuratively, as in Thomas Jefferson’s description, “A government driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty.”
See also: defense, effort
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Researcher Professor De Fraja, who is Head of Economics at the University of Leicester, said: 'The main channel through which parental socio-economic background affects achievement is via effort.
When the principal can contract on risk manager effort, given the assumptions of this model, the contract terms are identical for both risk management functions.
Self-efficacy is associated with the amount of time learners are on task and the effort they place on those tasks.
Our effective collaborative efforts bring together the right people to support the warfighter with innovative, cost-effective, greener technologies in an effort to optimize military, economic, and ecological concerns.
Our inability to get a resolution for our concerns by going directly to our leaders in Washington has been very frustrating, and all of our efforts have led to little significant recognition or change in the government's free trade policy or agenda.
complement to the European Human Epigenome Project effort [see "U.S.
Determining workout difficulty by examining effort and recovery is an essential step in sculpting a training program that increases your body's adaptive capacity.
Along with state beef councils and state cattlemen's associations, made donations to traditional relief agencies and called on all agricultural producers to contribute to the recovery effort of farm and ranch families.
After learning that the students at Purchase College were organizing a concert and silent auction on September 9 to generate proceeds for relief efforts, Julia B.
A number of studies conducted in a variety of geographic settings have shown that interventions such as point-of-use disinfection of water and educational efforts to improve personal hygiene help reduce disease prevalence (9).
Personnel Exchange Programs foster people-to-people relationships that play a critical confidence building and familiarity role in future coalition efforts. The primary role of International Armaments Cooperation (IAC) is to promote rationalization, standardization and interoperability of Air Force defense equipment and capabilities and allies to ensure coalition success.
The government has taken this position even though the commercial contract required and funded only the manufacture and delivery of the motors, not the IR & D effort necessary to make the improvements in design and development.
All Children's has pledged to make an effort to prevent central line infections and develop a rapid response team, says Judi Vitucci, administrative director of quality and outcomes.
These images can then be relayed as still photos or live video to personnel assisting in the relief efforts on the ground.
Following Michel Foucault's analysis, Newman describes middling and elite efforts to control the bodies of the poor in the face of mounting impoverishment and what seemed to be a dangerous decline in deferential behavior, classifying, regulating and restraining them in newly devised institutions designed to "recondition" impoverished bodies.