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’
    • ‘History suggests that moving students off-campus is a last resort, only to be encouraged in the face of over-population.’
    • ‘The farm where Marian works is difficult and Tess looks at it as a last resort.’
    • ‘Laughter used to be the best last resort in a grim situation, but nothing's funny anymore.’
    • ‘In most cases, pesticides should be considered the last resort for reducing losses due to pests.’
    • ‘We did what we did 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.’
    • ‘As a last resort, Lambeau seeks out his old college roommate, who has a great deal in common with young Will.’
    • ‘Fishing used to strike me as a last-resort sport, a pastime I might take up later in life, along with quilting.’
    • ‘While interest-rate and exchange-rate policies are tools for the government, they will probably be last-resort measures.’
    • ‘War should in any case always be a last resort in settling an international conflict.’
    • ‘Piling grain outdoors shouldn't be considered a last resort, provided you prepare a proper site and invest in grain covers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Farmers also only use synthetic pesticides as a last resort to save the crop, relying instead on natural repellents and controls such as neem.’
    • ‘Opening the chest cavity is a last-resort measure.’
    • ‘Surgery for morbid obesity is usually the last-resort intervention in patients who have tried all other weight-reduction treatments.’
    • ‘Such an action may constitute effective leadership, the authors recognize, but they argue that this approach should be used only as a last resort.’
    • ‘If nothing else will get us to do the right thing, fear is a last-resort motivator.’
    • ‘Shouldn't cosmetic surgery be a last resort?’
    • ‘Court action was, however, 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
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  • as a first (or last or final) resort

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

      as a last resort, whatever the circumstances, no matter what, in any event, in any case, come what may
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      • ‘If armed force is to be used, it must be as a last resort when other means of prevention have failed.’
      • ‘Most come as a last resort, reaching a desperate point where any advice from the psychologist is welcome.’
      • ‘It is quite a draconian measure and I'm all for using it as a last resort, but we seem to be talking about it as a first resort here.’
      • ‘He doesn't seem to have listened to anything and I just felt we had to be here as a last resort, to make our feelings known.’
      • ‘According to Charles, sleep-walkers are often referred to hypnotherapy as a last resort, by doctors.’
      • ‘Speaking in more general terms, they said inspections, dialogue, negotiations, are all instruments of choice to prevent proliferation, but as a final resort, they envisage the use of force.’
      • ‘Critics have also expressed concerns that doctors are using the drug as a first resort and not considering alternative ways of controlling the condition.’
      • ‘I tried formatting the hard drive last weekend as a last resort.’
      • ‘He expects the council to allow memorials to be removed only as a last resort.’
      • ‘We only ever take parents to court as a last resort and it is not a course of action we take lightly and one which we would rather avoid.’
  • 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
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      • ‘And only Europe, in the last resort, will be able to reverse it.’
      • ‘Companies are abruptly withdrawing from unprofitable lines of business, cutting workers, selling out to rivals, and in the last resort, going out of business.’
      • ‘In the past ministers could act to protect the public in the last resort, and that protection has been removed from ministers.’
      • ‘Eventually if people cannot reduce their woodsmoke emissions, they've got the choice to enter our program and purchase an alternative heater of some type, or in the last resort, they may be fined for the woodsmoke that they're causing.’
      • ‘One must see whether there are nearby parks, gardens, zones of cohabitation… because in the last resort if there are no communal spaces, we will have to adapt the circulation routes of the building to create social space.’
      • ‘It's all quite charming and tuneful if, in the last resort, unmemorable.’
      • ‘Officers are employees and servants of the council and, in the last resort, take instructions from it.’
      • ‘It also recognises that in the last resort, it may be permissible to carry out a review over the telephone, provided that the other procedures required by the Act are followed.’
      • ‘While we hope that most disputes will then be resolved through mediation, legal action will be made possible in the last resort.’
      • ‘The question then arises as to whose interests, in the last resort, broadcasting is there to serve - those of the state or the people?’