effort

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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

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 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
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

*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
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

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 ?
As conceptualized by dual processing researchers, source credibility operates as a peripheral cue or heuristic when individuals are unmotivated to process message arguments effortfully or systematically.
We barely see the Man, but we hear what he feels: "to," "as," "if," "from" all carry scary, unaccustomed weight, making for linefuls of spondees, and sentences as effortfully tough as wrestlers' holds.
So, in practice, none of us can do other than try, effortfully, to go beyond texts and use them as clues to how to negotiate the perplexities of the social world.(35) The analysis of gossip and the practice of the historian at this point fuse into one, with the defence of history simply becoming, `this is something we all do, all the time, provisionally'.
She contends that individuals are likely to behave effortfully when they believe effort is an effective strategy, and when they believe they can behave effortfully.
Ball has turned what was a vocally powerful but effortfully chilly performance at the production's Chichester Festival Theater premiere last summer into a relaxed, fully fledged horror.
In this description of effortless ease, Myles effortfully manipulates time, not only through telling us that present, past, and future collide, but also through the distorted verb tenses: "If there is a warm disassociation this was it'--are we in the moment of the encounter with the protagonist ("is") or remembering it with the novelist ("was")?
Duality and separateness are announced in the novel's first two tongue-tied paragraphs that ambiguously contrast Arieka's effortfully willed recollection of what appears to be her first memory of divine afflatus (or is it merely her birth?) with the spontaneous, and ironically more focused, memory of childhood incontinence.
High involvement individuals process information effortfully (ELM) or systematically (HSM), whereas individuals with low involvement rely on cognitive shortcuts referred to as peripheral cues (ELM) or heuristics (HSM).
I told them that dyslexics can learn to read, even if more slowly and more effortfully than others, and grow up to be successful adults.