on its/(one's) last legs(redirected from on their last legs)
on its/(one's) last legs
1. slang Of a machine, near a complete breakdown or loss of functionality. In this usage, "its" is used between "on" and "last." Judging by all that noise coming from her car, I'm pretty sure it's on its last legs. The blender stopped working again today—it must be on its last legs.
2. slang Of a person, near physical collapse or death. In this usage, a pronoun for the person being discussed is used between "on" and "last." I knew I was on my last legs, so I was very relieved to see the marathon's finish line in the distance. Ed's on his last legs—you should probably try to visit him in the hospital today.
on someone's (or something's) last legs
Fig. for someone or something to be almost worn out or finished. This building is on its last legs. It should be torn down. I feel as if I'm on my last legs. I'm really tired.
on one's last legs
Extremely tired, close to collapsing, as in We've been cleaning house all day and I'm on my last legs. This hyperbolic expression originally meant "close to dying," and in John Ray's 1678 proverb collection it was transferred to being bankrupt. Soon afterward it was applied to the end of one's resources, physical or otherwise. It is sometimes applied to things, as in That furnace is on its last legs.
on its last legs
If something is on its last legs, it is old or in a bad condition and will not be able to be used much longer. The dressing-gown I've worn for years is on its last legs. By the mid-1980s, the copper industry in the US was on its last legs.
on your last legs
1. If you are on your last legs, you are exhausted. Jackson collapsed as he left the boxing ring, clearly on his last legs.
2. If someone is on their last legs, they are about to die. There was an enormous variety of patients — people who looked in perfect health and people who looked as if they were on their last legs.
on your last legsnear the end of life, usefulness, or strength.
1987 Eric Newby Round Ireland in Low Gear It is certainly difficult to imagine how anyone who is in any way infirm, and some of the pilgrims who make the climb are literally on their last legs, can reach the top.
on its last legsverb
on (one's) last legs
At the end of one's strength or resources; ready to collapse, fail, or die.