the/(one's) last gasp

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.
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.
See also: gasp, last

last gasp

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]
See also: gasp, last

the last gasp

COMMON The last gasp of a long process or period of time is the very last active stage of it. The summer of '92 may be looked upon with nostalgia as the last gasp of the live rock concert era. Eleven thousand years ago, at the last gasp of the ice age, the area was covered with forest. Note: You can also use last gasp before a noun to say that something is achieved at the last possible moment. Dalziel watched his side snatch a last gasp victory with two late goals. Note: These phrases come from 2 Maccabes 7:9 in the Apocrypha of the Bible. Seven brothers and their mother were tortured by King Antiochus, and one of the brothers spoke out defiantly `when he was at his last gasp', or when he was dying.
See also: gasp, last

your (or the) last gasp

the point of death, exhaustion, or completion.
1996 Will Hutton The State We're In The failure of the 1994 rail strike was the last gasp of an old order.
See also: gasp, last