at last


1 [last, lahst]
adjective a superl. of late with later as compar.
occurring or coming after all others, as in time, order, or place: the last line on a page.
most recent; next before the present; latest: last week; last Friday.
being the only one remaining: my last dollar; the last outpost; a last chance.
final: in his last hours.
ultimate or conclusive; definitive: the last word in the argument.
lowest in prestige or importance: last prize.
coming after all others in suitability or likelihood; least desirable: He is the last person we'd want to represent us.
individual; single: The lecture won't start until every last person is seated.
utmost; extreme: the last degree of delight.
Ecclesiastical. (of the sacraments of penance, viaticum, or extreme unction) extreme or final; administered to a person dying or in danger of dying.
after all others; latest: He arrived last at the party.
on the most recent occasion: When last seen, the suspect was wearing a checked suit.
in the end; finally; in conclusion.
a person or thing that is last.
a final appearance or mention: We've seen the last of her. That's the last we'll hear of it.
the end or conclusion: We are going on vacation the last of September.
at last, after a lengthy pause or delay: He was lost in thought for several minutes, but at last he spoke.
at long last, after much troublesome or frustrating delay: The ship docked at long last.
breathe one's last, to die: He was nearly 90 when he breathed his last.

before 900; Middle English last, latst, syncopated variant of latest, Old English latest, lætest, superlative of læt, late

1. Last, final, ultimate refer to what comes as an ending. That which is last comes or stands after all others in a stated series or succession; last may refer to objects or activities: a seat in the last row; the last game. That which is final comes at the end, or serves to end or terminate, admitting of nothing further; final is rarely used of objects: to make a final attempt. That which is ultimate (literally, most remote) is the last that can be reached, as in progression or regression, experience, or a course of investigation: ultimate truths. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
last1 (lɑːst)
1.  being, happening, or coming at the end or after all others: the last horse in the race
2.  being or occurring just before the present; most recent: last Thursday
3.  last but not least coming last in order but nevertheless important
4.  last but one next to last
5.  only remaining: one's last cigarette
6.  most extreme; utmost
7.  least suitable, appropriate, or likely: he was the last person I would have chosen
8.  esp relating to the end of a person's life or of the world
 a.  final or ultimate: last rites
 b.  (capital): the Last Judgment
9.  dialect (Liverpool) (postpositive) inferior, unpleasant, or contemptible: this ale is last
10.  after all others; at or in the end: he came last
11.  a.  most recently: he was last seen in the mountains
 b.  (in combination): last-mentioned
12.  (sentence modifier) as the last or latest item
13.  the last
 a.  a person or thing that is last
 b.  the final moment; end
14.  one's last moments before death
15.  the last thing a person can do (esp in the phrase breathe one's last)
16.  the final appearance, mention, or occurrence: we've seen the last of him
17.  at last in the end; finally
18.  at long last finally, after difficulty, delay, or irritation
usage  Since last can mean either after all others or most recent, it is better to avoid using this word where ambiguity might arise as in her last novel. Final or latest should be used in such contexts to avoid ambiguity

last2 (lɑːst)
vb (when intr, often foll by for) (when intr, often foll by for)
1.  to remain in being (for a length of time); continue: his hatred lasted for several years
2.  to be sufficient for the needs of (a person) for (a length of time): it will last us until Friday
3.  to remain fresh, uninjured, or unaltered (for a certain time or duration): he lasted for three hours underground
[Old English lǣstan; related to Gothic laistjan to follow]

last3 (lɑːst)
1.  the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired
2.  (tr) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
[Old English lǣste, from lāst footprint; related to Old Norse leistr foot, Gothic laists]

last4 (lɑːst)
a unit of weight or capacity having various values in different places and for different commodities. Commonly used values are 2 tons, 2000 pounds, 80 bushels, or 640 gallons
[Old English hlæst load; related to hladan to lade1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"following all the others," from O.E. latost (adj.) and lætest (adv.), superl. of læt (adj.) and late (adv.). Cognate with O.Fris. lest, Du. laatst, O.H.G. laggost, Ger. letzt). Adj. Last-ditch "on the last line of defense" is from 1715, attributed to William of Orange. Last hurrah is from
the title of Edwin O'Connor's 1956 novel. Last word "final, definitive statement" is from 1881. Related: Lasting; lastly.

"endure," from O.E. læstan "to continue, endure," earlier "accomplish, carry out," lit. "to follow a track," from P.Gmc. *laistijanan (cf. Goth. laistjan "to follow," O.Fris. lasta "to fulfill, to pay (duties)," Ger. leisten "to perform, achieve, afford"). Related to
last (n.), not to last (adj.).

"shoemaker's block," from O.E. læste, from last "track, footprint, trace," from P.Gmc. *laistaz (cf. O.N. leistr "the foot," O.H.G. leist "track, footprint," Goth. laistjan "to follow," O.E. læran "to teach").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at last

Also, at long last. After a long time, finally, as in At last the speeches ended and dinner was served, or Harry's got his degree at long last. The first term dates from about 1200, the variant from the early 1500s. Also see at length, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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