a last-ditch stand/attempt/effort

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last-ditch attempt

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 attempt in the final seconds of the game to try to force an overtime showdown. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a government shutdown, congress has pushed forward a new spending bill.
See also: attempt

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.

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
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References in periodicals archive ?
There is almost a cinematic finality to your last-ditch stand, like Braveheart come to life.
But Rain or Shine had to weather a last-ditch stand by Phoenix, getting a lucky break in the dying seconds when import Eugene Phelps missed a lefty layup against several defenders in the paint.
WAYNE CITY Just when it looked like the North Clay (Louisville) Cardinals might make a last-ditch stand, Crab Orchard parlayed some tough defense and clutch free-throw shooting into a 68-50 win in the 64th Annual Conrad Allen Wayne City Holiday Tournament Saturday.
This holiday season, I'm making a last-ditch stand, a Doug Flutie pass, a do-or-die attempt to find the One Honey Cake to Rule Them All.
"We played back-to-back games and we were worried because Alaska has been resting while we were playing." The Bolts seemed to have put a lock on the game a lot earlier, leading by 10 with under two minutes remaining before the Aces came up with their last-ditch stand that had Alaska creeping to within three.
David Cameron will make a last-ditch stand against the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for European Commission president on Friday, enforcing a point of principle that raises the risk of Britain leaving the European Union.
NNA - David Cameron will make a last-ditch stand against the nomination of Jean-Claude Juncker for European Commission president on Friday, enforcing a point of principle that raises the risk of Britain leaving the European Union.
Garw SGBC are making a last-ditch stand to avoid relegation as they defeated visitors Tongwynlais 5-1.
SECRETS of an astonishing last-ditch stand by Scots heroes fighting off hordes of Taliban can be revealed today.
The bombing incident in northeastern Sri Lanka came after the refugee exodus from the ''no fire zone'' where the separatist rebels are holding out in a last-ditch stand intensified over the weekend.
In this last-ditch stand, the aim of the nine' was certainly not to undo the compromise that had taken such a huge effort to reach.
Mr Blair and Mr Touhig should reflect on the number of miners who died of their respiratory illness, without receiving a single penny compensation, while Blair's Government was spending millions of taxpayers' money on its last-ditch stand in the High Court against desperately sick miners.
With the German army advancing through London, Longmate depicts Prime Minister Winston Churchill as the last defender in a last-ditch stand on Downing Street.