breathe one last


verb (used without object), breathed [breethd] , breathing.
to take air, oxygen, etc., into the lungs and expel it; inhale and exhale; respire.
(in speech) to control the outgoing breath in producing voice and speech sounds.
to pause, as for breath; take rest: How about giving me a chance to breathe?
to move gently or blow lightly, as air.
to live; exist: Hardly a man breathes who has not known great sorrow.
to be redolent of.
(of a material) to allow air and moisture to pass through easily: The jacket is comfortable because the fabric breathes.
(of the skin) to absorb oxygen and give off perspiration.
(of a wine) to be exposed to air after being uncorked, in order to develop flavor and bouquet.
verb (used with object), breathed [breethd] , breathing.
to inhale and exhale in respiration.
to exhale: Dragons breathe fire.
to inject as if by breathing; infuse: She breathed life into the party.
to give utterance to; whisper.
to express; manifest.
to allow to rest or recover breath: to breathe a horse.
to deprive of breath; tire; exhaust.
to cause to pant; exercise.
breathe down someone's neck,
to be close to someone in pursuit; menace; threaten: Police from four states were breathing down his neck.
to watch someone closely so as to supervise or control: If everyone keeps breathing down my neck, how can I get my work done?
breathe freely, to have relief from anxiety, tension, or pressure: Now that the crisis was over, he could breathe freely. Also, breathe easily, breathe easy.
breathe one's last, to die: He breathed his last and was buried in the churchyard.
not breathe a word/syllable, to maintain secrecy; keep a matter confidential: I'll tell you if you promise not to breathe a word.

1250–1300; Middle English brethen, derivative of breath

outbreathe, verb (used with object), outbreathed, outbreathing.
prebreathe, verb (used with object), prebreathed, prebreathing.

breadth, breath, breathe.

14. utter, tell, murmur, voice; reveal, divulge. Unabridged


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.
Cite This Source Link To breathe one last
World English Dictionary
breathe (briːð)
1.  to take in oxygen from (the surrounding medium, esp air) and give out carbon dioxide; respire
2.  (intr) to exist; be alive: every animal that breathes on earth
3.  (intr) to rest to regain breath, composure, etc: stop your questions, and give me a chance to breathe
4.  (intr) (esp of air) to blow lightly: the wind breathed through the trees
5.  (intr) machinery
 a.  to take in air, esp for combustion: the engine breathes through this air filter
 b.  to equalize the pressure within a container, chamber, etc, with atmospheric pressure: the crankcase breathes through this duct
6.  (tr) phonetics Compare voice to articulate (a speech sound) without vibration of the vocal cords
7.  to exhale or emit: the dragon breathed fire
8.  (tr) to impart; instil: to breathe confidence into the actors
9.  (tr) to speak softly; whisper: to breathe words of love
10.  (tr) to permit to rest: to breathe a horse
11.  (intr) (of a material) to allow air to pass through so that perspiration can evaporate
12.  breathe again, breathe freely, breathe easily to feel relief: I could breathe again after passing the exam
13.  breathe down someone's neck to stay close to someone, esp to oversee what they are doing: the cops are breathing down my neck
14.  breathe one's last to die or be finished or defeated
[C13: from breath]

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").

c.1300, not in O.E., but it retains the original O.E. vowel of its source word, breath. Related: Breathing.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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