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
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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer