The adjective last-ditch is often used in the expressions last-ditch effort and last-ditch attempt, and has an interesting origin. We will examine the meaning of the word last-ditch, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Last-ditch describes something that is a final action, usually in the face of certain failure. For instance, a last-ditch effort or a last-ditch attempt is one that is desperate, one that is risky or a gamble worth taking as all other means have failed. The term last-ditch is a hyphenated compound word, which is two words joined together with a hyphen. The expression last-ditch was coined by William of Orange in 1672. When faced with a French invasion, he defiantly said: “I mean to die in the last ditch.”


The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a last-ditch appeal for a Texas inmate who became known as the “suitcase killer,” clearing the way for his execution in the slaying of a 29-year-old Lubbock woman whose battered, naked body was stuffed into a new piece of luggage and tossed in the trash. (The Austin American-Statesman)

United States President Donald Trump is facing a last-ditch effort from within his own administration and Republican lawmakers to head off steep tariffs on steel and aluminium that threaten to unleash a global trade war. (The Straits Times)

Saudi Arabia’s collapsed Saad Group, led by businessman Maan al-Sanea, has called a meeting with creditors in a last-ditch attempt to end a dispute over 16 billion riyals ($4.3 billion) of claims, sources close to the matter said. (Reuters)

But Progressive Conservative Opposition Leader Vic Fedeli, who is also his party’s finance critic, blamed the Liberals for “Ontario losing its competitive advantage to the United States,” and called the retaliatory move “a last-ditch attempt to distract from their record of costing Ontario more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs.” (The Toronto Star)

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