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Final, usually drastic or risky, with failure as the only alternative. The home team is mounting one last-gasp attempt 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.
the/(one's) last gasp
1. The final moment before one dies; the last period of one's life. Even though my grandfather's lungs were riddled with cancer and emphysema, he remained a smoker until his very last gasp. The soldiers of the kingdom vowed to defend it to the last gasp.
2. The last moment before a person or group ultimately fails or must give up. We might be down by 10 points, but we have to keep on fighting to the last gasp! Even as their stocks plummeted, the company maintained a public image of success right to their last gasp. Some say we're seeing capitalism's last gasp, but I think that view ignores a lot of factors.
3. One's or something's final attempt to succeed or else face failure, death, destruction, etc. The play was their last gasp to tie the game, but the quarterback fumbled the snap. Many see this latest video game console as the company's last gasp, especially following the disastrous flop of their last one.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
The moment before death; also, the end. For example, "Fight till the last gasp" (Shakespeare, 1 Henry VI, 1:2), or He was determined to stay at the party until the last gasp. This idiom alludes to taking one's last breath, literally (first example) or figuratively (second example). [Late 1500s]
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.
your/the last ˈgaspthe point at which you/something can no longer continue living, fighting, existing, etc: People are saying that the group’s latest actions are simply the last gasp of a dying campaign.
A gasp is a quick deep breath.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
last gasp, the
Nearing the end; on the point of death. The gasp here literally means one’s breath, but the term often is used loosely to mean either extremely tired (exhausted) or a final effort. In the first meaning the term appears in one of the Apocryphal books of the Bible (2 Maccabees 7:9) and in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part I, 1.2, where Joan of Arc tells Charles, “Fight till the last gasp; I will be your guard.”
See also: last
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer