At long last

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.
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.
adjective (often prenominal)
being, happening, or coming at the end or after all others: the last horse in the race
being or occurring just before the present; most recent: last Thursday
last but not least, coming last in order but nevertheless important
last but one, next to last
only remaining: one’s last cigarette
most extreme; utmost
least suitable, appropriate, or likely: he was the last person I would have chosen
(esp relating to the end of a person’s life or of the world)

final or ultimate: last rites
(capital): the Last Judgment

(postpositive) (Liverpool, dialect) inferior, unpleasant, or contemptible: this ale is last
after all others; at or in the end: he came last

most recently: he was last seen in the mountains
(in combination): last-mentioned

(sentence modifier) as the last or latest item
the last

a person or thing that is last
the final moment; end

one’s last moments before death
the last thing a person can do (esp in the phrase breathe one’s last)
the final appearance, mention, or occurrence: we’ve seen the last of him
at last, in the end; finally
at long last, finally, after difficulty, delay, or irritation
when intr, often foll by for. to remain in being (for a length of time); continue: his hatred lasted for several years
to be sufficient for the needs of (a person) for (a length of time): it will last us until Friday
when intr, often foll by for. to remain fresh, uninjured, or unaltered (for a certain time or duration): he lasted for three hours underground
the wooden or metal form on which a shoe or boot is fashioned or repaired
(transitive) to fit (a shoe or boot) on a last
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
adj., adv.

“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.).
see under at last

last analysis
last but not least
last fling
last gasp
last laugh, have the
last resort
last straw, the
last word, the

also see:

at last
at the last minute
breathe one’s last
each and every (last one)
famous last words
first and last
head for (the last roundup)
in the final (last) analysis
on one’s last legs
see the last of
stick to one’s last
to the last


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