Definition of last resort in English:

last resort


  • A final course of action, used only when all else has failed.

    ‘asking them to leave the school should be a last resort’
    as modifier ‘a last-resort treatment for lung cancer’
    • ‘Laughter used to be the best last resort in a grim situation, but nothing's funny anymore.’
    • ‘Opening the chest cavity is a last-resort measure.’
    • ‘War should in any case always be a last resort in settling an international conflict.’
    • ‘While interest-rate and exchange-rate policies are tools for the government, they will probably be last-resort measures.’
    • ‘In most cases, pesticides should be considered the last resort for reducing losses due to pests.’
    • ‘As a last resort, Lambeau seeks out his old college roommate, who has a great deal in common with young Will.’
    • ‘Surgery for morbid obesity is usually the last-resort intervention in patients who have tried all other weight-reduction treatments.’
    • ‘Coercion is used only as a last resort.’
    • ‘Like thousands of other sufferers in the UK, she needs a transplant of matching bone marrow as a last-resort treatment, after the disease returned following successful chemotherapy.’
    • ‘We did what we did as a last resort.’
    • ‘Farmers also only use synthetic pesticides as a last resort to save the crop, relying instead on natural repellents and controls such as neem.’
    • ‘Fishing used to strike me as a last-resort sport, a pastime I might take up later in life, along with quilting.’
    • ‘Court action was, however, a last resort.’
    • ‘Piling grain outdoors shouldn't be considered a last resort, provided you prepare a proper site and invest in grain covers.’
    • ‘If nothing else will get us to do the right thing, fear is a last-resort motivator.’
    • ‘The farm where Marian works is difficult and Tess looks at it as a last resort.’
    • ‘For decades, declaring bankruptcy has been a last-resort measure to re-establish financial standing for economically distressed individuals and families.’
    • ‘History suggests that moving students off-campus is a last resort, only to be encouraged in the face of over-population.’
    • ‘Shouldn't cosmetic surgery be a last resort?’
    • ‘Such an action may constitute effective leadership, the authors recognize, but they argue that this approach should be used only as a last resort.’
    temporary solution, improvisation, expedient, makeshift
    last-minute, last-chance, eleventh-hour, last-resort, desperate, frantic, frenzied, wild, struggling, straining, final, extreme, all-out, do-or-die
    View synonyms


  • as a first (or last or final) resort

    • Before anything else is attempted (or when all else has failed)

      ‘the soldiers had orders not to shoot except as a last resort to save human life’
      ‘practitioners use these medicines as a first resort’
      as a last resort, whatever the circumstances, no matter what, in any event, in any case, come what may
      View synonyms
  • in the last resort

    • Ultimately.

      ‘in the last resort what really moves us is our personal convictions’
      ultimately, in the end, at the end of the day, finally, in the long run, eventually
      View synonyms