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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 ?
The study found that the socio-economic background of a family not only affected the child's educational attainment it also affected the school's effort, Health news reported.
Self-efficacy is associated with the amount of time learners are on task and the effort they place on those tasks.
Established in 1994, the Joint Group on Pollution Prevention (JG-PP) has been actively fostering cooperation between the DoD Services, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in an effort to leverage valuable resources and identify new channels for implementing promising innovative technologies in response to weapons/space systems environmental compliance issues.
All the imprinted genes identified so far are tracked in complementary efforts by Morison's and Jirtle's groups and the Mammalian Genetics Unit of the U.K.
"But I really can't say enough about the efforts of our state beef councils and state cattlemen's associations.
Through the kindness of our agents and other area residents, we were able to donate much needed supplies to organizations that didn't attract the large scale efforts."
A collaborative, interdisciplinary effort to ensure global access to safe water, basic sanitation, and improved hygiene is the foundation for ending this cycle.
Houston is fortunate to have had the ability to combine advocacy efforts from different communities with political access to increase services available to the entire city ...
A summary look at the IAC portfolio provides a characterization of SAF/IA's efforts in IAC.
All of these efforts served to maintain the South as an area of injustice.
The bottom line for any company doing business with the federal government is to understand that the acquisition reform efforts of a decade ago are on the wane; the government is now increasing its prosecution and scrutiny of contractors.
Advocacy: TEI's efforts to give voice to business community concerns about tax law and regulations expanded significantly during the year.
ACT's Andy Grossman assessed the Media Funds efforts: "It covered the month of April when Bush went on the air and the Kerry camp was broke." (See figure 1.)
The AHA, however, did issue a statement saying it applauds IHI's efforts.
These images can then be relayed as still photos or live video to personnel assisting in the relief efforts on the ground.