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Thread: Last Ditch

  1. #1
    karida is offline Newbie
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    Default Last Ditch

    Could you pls give the definition the idiom " a last ditch" and an example of using that one.

    Thanks in advance.
    Oksana Karida

  2. #2
    banderas's Avatar
    banderas is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by karida View Post
    Could you pls give the definition the idiom " a last ditch" and an example of using that one.

    Thanks in advance.
    Oksana Karida
    A desperate final attempt that will probably fail anyway, as in "We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. "

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    mfwills is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    A desperate final attempt that will probably fail anyway, as in "We're making a last-ditch effort to finish on time. "
    I disagree that the term implies probable failure. Quite the contrary, it represents the last best hope of success.

    The expression alludes to the military sense of the last ditch (or trench) as "the last line of defense." Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.

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    Default Re: idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by mfwills View Post
    I disagree that the term implies probable failure. Quite the contrary, it represents the last best hope of success.

    The expression alludes to the military sense of the last ditch (or trench) as "the last line of defense." Its figurative use dates from the early 1800s.
    last-ditch attempt/effort an effort or attempt which is made at the end of a series of failures to solve a problem, and is not expected to succeed:
    In a last-ditch attempt to save his party from electoral defeat, he resigned from the leadership.
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press

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    mfwills is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: idioms

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    last-ditch attempt/effort an effort or attempt which is made at the end of a series of failures to solve a problem, and is not expected to succeed:
    In a last-ditch attempt to save his party from electoral defeat, he resigned from the leadership.
    Cambridge Dictionaries Online - Cambridge University Press
    I will go so far as to say that this definition is poorly written. "Not expected to succeed" should be "often with little chance of success." Better still, leave the qualification out entirely.

    Yes, a last ditch effort is that final desperate attempt at something, but it is always with the hope, however small, that it will succeed. Otherwise, there is hardly any reason to do it.

    Even the example sentence given supports this. This person's resignation is a last ditch effort to save his party from defeat: it is done in the hope that it will produce the desired outcome, however short the odds. To resign with the acknowledgement that it is a useless gesture is surrender, not a last ditch effort at victory.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: idioms

    I think you're both right .The military image refers to defensive trenches. So from the point of view of the defending army, when the attackers get to your last ditch it's your last hope; your attempts at defence are indeed likely to fail - your artillery, or even your archers (going back a century or two) should have held them back long before that stage. But 'hope springs eternal in the human breast'.

    From the attacker's point of view, the last ditch is the final problem to be overcome. To use another image, it's the 'final hurdle'.

    b

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    Default Re: Last Ditch

    I threw some related expressions together:



    a last ditch effort
    last stand, one last push, last hurdle, last try
    one more stab at it, one final effort,
    I'll give it one more go.
    one last chance.
    My wife and I decided that we should give our relationship one more chance to see if we can make things work. And if not, we'll call it quits.
    I've missed the dart board the last four throws, but I'll take one last stab at it, then I'm going to give up and go back to drinking beer.

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