• Last


    • RP enPR: läst, IPA: /lɑːst/
    • Rhymes: -ɑːst
    • GA enPR: lăst, IPA: /ɫæst/
    • Rhymes: -æst
    • Northern England IPA: /last/
    • Rhymes: -ast
    • Scotland IPA: /ɫast/
    • Rhymes: -ast

    Origin 1

    Old English latost

    Full definition of last



    1. Final, ultimate, coming after all others of its kind.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 5, Then everybody once more knelt, and soon the blessing was pronounced. The choir and the clergy trooped out slowly, , down the nave to the western door. At a seemingly immense distance the surpliced group stopped to say the last prayer.
    2. “Eyes Wide Shut” was the last film to be directed by Stanley Kubrick.
    3. Most recent, latest, last so far.
      • 2013-05-25, No hiding place, In America alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year.
    4. The last time I saw him, he was married.
      I have received your note dated the 17th last, and am responding to say that...
      .   (archaic usage)
    5. Farthest of all from a given quality, character, or condition; most unlikely, or least preferable.He is the last person to be accused of theft.
      The last person I want to meet is Helen.
      More rain is the last thing we need right now.
    6. Being the only one remaining of its class.
      Japan is the last empire.
    7. Supreme; highest in degree; utmost.
      • R. HallContending for principles of the last importance.
    8. Lowest in rank or degree.the last prize



    1. The (one) immediately before the present.Last night the moon was full.We went there last year.Last Tuesday was Hallowe'en.Last time we talked about this was in January.
    2. (of a day of the week) Closest to seven days (one week) ago.It's Wednesday, and the party was last Tuesday; that is, not yesterday, but eight days ago.

    Usage notes

    (both senses) This cannot be used in past or future tense to refer to a time immediately before the subject matter. For example, one does not say I was very tired yesterday, due to not having slept well last night: last night in that sentence refers to the night before the speaker is speaking, not the night before the "yesterday" to which he refers. He would need to say I was very tired yesterday, due to not having slept well the night before or the like.



    1. Most recently.When we last met, he was based in Toronto.
      • ShakespeareHow long is't now since last yourself and I
        Were in a mask?
    2. (sequence) after everything else; finallyI'll go last.last but not least
      • DrydenPleased with his idol, he commends, admires,
        Adores; and, last, the thing adored desires.

    Origin 2

    Old English lǣstan, from Proto-Germanic *laistijaną. Cognate with German leisten ("yield").


    1. (transitive, obsolete) To perform, carry out.
    2. (intransitive) To endure, continue over time.Summer seems to last longer each year.They seem happy now, but that won't last long.
    3. (intransitive) To hold out, continue undefeated or entire.I don't know how much longer we can last without reinforcements.

    Related terms

    Origin 3

    Old English læste.



    (plural lasts)
    1. a tool for shaping or preserving the shape of shoes
      • 2006, Newman, Cathy, Every Shoe Tells a Story, National Geographic (September, 2006), 83,How is an in-your-face black leather thigh-high lace-up boot with a four-inch spike heel like a man's black calf lace-up oxford? They are both made on a last, the wood or plastic foot-shaped form that leather is stretched over and shaped to make a shoe.


    1. To shape with a last; to fasten or fit to a last; to place smoothly on a last.to last a boot

    Origin 4

    From Middle English last, from Old English hlæst ("burden, load, freight"), from Proto-Germanic *hlastuz ("burden, load, freight"), from Proto-Indo-European *kleh₂- ("to put, lay out"). Cognate with West Frisian lêst, Dutch last, German Last, Swedish last, Icelandic lest.



    (plural lasts)
    1. (obsolete) A burden; load; a cargo; freight.
    2. (obsolete) A measure of weight or quantity, varying in designation depending on the goods concerned.
      • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 114:Now we so quietly followed our businesse, that in three moneths wee made three or foure Last of Tarre, Pitch, and Sope ashes ....
      • 1866, James Edwin Thorold Rogers, A History of Agriculture and Prices in England, Volume 1, page 169,The last of wool is twelve sacks.
    3. (obsolete) An old English (and Dutch) measure of the carrying capacity of a ship, equal to two tons.
    4. A load of some commodity with reference to its weight and commercial value.


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