Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"following all others," from Old English latost (adj.) and lætest (adv.), superlative of læt (see late). Cognate with Old Frisian lest, Dutch laatst, Old High German laggost, German letzt. Meaning "most recent" is from c.1200. The noun, "last person or thing," is c.1200, from the adjective. Last hurrah is from the title of Edwin O'Connor's 1956 novel. Last word "final, definitive statement" is from 1650s. A dying person's last words so called by 1740. As an adjective, last-minute attested from 1913. Last-chance (adj.) is from 1962.
"endure, go on existing," from Old English læstan "to continue, endure," earlier "accomplish, carry out," literally "to follow a track," from Proto-Germanic *laistjan "to follow a track" (cf. Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old Frisian lasta "to fulfill, to pay (duties)," German leisten "to perform, achieve, afford"), from PIE *leis- "track, furrow."
Related to last (n.), not to last (adj.). Related: Lasted; lasting.
"shoemaker's block," from Old English læste, from last "track, footprint, trace," from Proto-Germanic *laist- (cf. Old Norse leistr "the foot," Middle Dutch, Dutch leest "form, model, last," Old High German leist "track, footprint," German Leisten "last," Gothic laistjan "to follow," Old English læran "to teach"); see last (v.).
Old English læt "occurring after the customary or expected time," originally "slow, sluggish," from Proto-Germanic *lata- (cf. Old Norse latr "sluggish, lazy," Middle Dutch, Old Saxon lat, German laß "idle, weary," Gothic lats "weary, sluggish, lazy," latjan "to hinder"), from PIE *led- "slow, weary" (cf. Latin lassus "faint, weary, languid, exhausted," Greek ledein "to be weary"), from root *le- "to let go, slacken" (see let (v.)).
The sense of "deceased" (as in the late Mrs. Smith) is from late 15c., from an adverbial sense of "recently." Of women's menstrual periods, attested colloquially from 1962. Related: Lateness. As an adverb, from Old English late.