At the last

At the last
Last Last (l[.a]st), a. [OE. last, latst, contr. of latest, superl. of late; akin to OS. lezt, lazt, last, D. laatst, G. letzt. See {Late}, and cf. {Latest}.] 1. Being after all the others, similarly classed or considered, in time, place, or order of succession; following all the rest; final; hindmost; farthest; as, the last year of a century; the last man in a line of soldiers; the last page in a book; his last chance. [1913 Webster]

Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. --Neh. viii. 18. [1913 Webster]

Fairest of stars, last in the train of night. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

2. Next before the present; as, I saw him last week. [1913 Webster]

3. Supreme; highest in degree; utmost. [1913 Webster]

Contending for principles of the last importance. --R. Hall. [1913 Webster]

4. Lowest in rank or degree; as, the a last place finish. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

5. Farthest of all from a given quality, character, or condition; most unlikely; having least fitness; as, he is the last person to be accused of theft. [1913 Webster]

{At last}, at the end of a certain period; after delay. ``The duke of Savoy felt that the time had at last arrived.'' --Motley.

{At the last}. [Prob. fr. AS. on l[=a]ste behind, following behind, fr. l[=a]st race, track, footstep. See {Last} mold of the foot.] At the end; in the conclusion. [Obs.] ``Gad, a troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last.'' --Gen. xlix. 19.

{Last heir}, the person to whom lands escheat for lack of an heir. [Eng.] --Abbott.

{On one's last legs}, at, or near, the end of one's resources; hence, on the verge of failure or ruin, especially in a financial sense. [Colloq.]

{To breathe one's last}, to die.

{To the last}, to the end; till the conclusion. [1913 Webster]

And blunder on in business to the last. --Pope.

Syn: {At Last}, {At Length}.

Usage: These phrases both denote that some delayed end or result has been reached. At length implies that a long period was spent in so doing; as, after a voyage of more than three months, we at Length arrived safe. At last commonly implies that something has occurred (as interruptions, disappointments, etc.) which leads us to emphasize the idea of having reached the end; as, in spite of every obstacle, we have at last arrived. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

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