eleventh

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at the eleventh hour

At the last possible moment or opportunity. I was shocked that they reached an agreement at the eleventh hour after weeks of squabbling.
See also: eleventh, hour

eleventh-hour decision

A decision made at the last possible moment or opportunity. I was shocked that they reached an eleventh-hour decision after weeks of squabbling.
See also: decision

the eleventh hour

The last possible moment or opportunity. Can be hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. I was shocked that they reached an agreement at the eleventh hour after weeks of squabbling. I was shocked that they reached an eleventh-hour decision after weeks of squabbling.
See also: eleventh, hour

at the eleventh hour

Fig. at the last possible moment. (Just before the last clock hour, 12) She always turned her term papers in at the eleventh hour. We don't worry about death until the eleventh hour.
See also: eleventh, hour

eleventh-hour decision

Fig. a decision made very late in a process, or at the last possible moment. Eleventh-hour decisions are seldom satisfactory. The president's eleventh-hour decision was made in a great hurry, but it turned out to be correct.
See also: decision

eleventh hour

The latest possible time, as in We turned in our report at the eleventh hour. This term is thought to allude to the parable of the laborers (Matthew 20:1-16), in which those workers hired at the eleventh hour of a twelve-hour working day were paid the same amount as those who began in the first hour. [Early 1800s]
See also: eleventh, hour

at the eleventh hour

COMMON If something happens at the eleventh hour, it happens at the last possible moment. Some of the exhibitions were cancelled at the eleventh hour. Then, at the eleventh hour, I had an accident that almost stopped me from entering the competition. Note: An eleventh hour decision or action is one that occurs at the last possible moment. This eleventh hour decision came as something of a surprise. The company has sold off 31 social clubs in an eleventh hour deal. Note: This expression comes from the Bible, where Jesus uses it in the story of the labourers in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). In Jesus's time the hours were counted from dawn until dusk, with the twelfth hour bringing darkness, and so the eleventh hour was the last hour before dark.
See also: eleventh, hour

at the eleventh hour

at the latest possible moment.
This expression originally referred to Jesus's parable of the labourers hired right at the end of the day to work in the vineyard (Matthew 20:1–16).
See also: eleventh, hour

the eˌleventh ˈhour

the moment when it is almost, but not quite, too late to do something, avoid something, etc: Our pianist had fallen ill, and then, at the eleventh hour, when we thought we’d have to cancel the performance, Jill offered to replace him. ▶ eˌleventh-ˈhour adj.: an eleventh-hour decision
See also: eleventh, hour
References in classic literature ?
Sophia never had a single dispute with her father, till this unlucky affair of Blifil, on any account, except in defence of her mother, whom she had loved most tenderly, though she lost her in the eleventh year of her age.
The big storm of the winter began on my eleventh birthday, the twentieth of January.
Think not, is my eleventh commandment; and sleep when you can, is my twelfth -- So here goes again.
Charles the Seventh,[*] the father of King Louis the Eleventh,[+] having by good fortune and valour liberated France from the English, recognized the necessity of being armed with forces of his own, and he established in his kingdom ordinances concerning men-at-arms and infantry.
Thrasybulus fell in his eleventh month, and many other tyrannies have continued a very short time.
Anglo-Saxon Prose, of the West Saxon Period, tenth and eleventh centuries, beginning with King Alfred, 871-901.
Because ten lions act similarly under similar conditions one cannot say that the eleventh lion will do likewise--the chances are that he will not.
Also the eleventh and twelfth are both excellent, alike for shearing sheep and for reaping the kindly fruits; but the twelfth is much better than the eleventh, for on it the airy-swinging spider spins its web in full day, and then the Wise One (42), gathers her pile.