famous last words

EnglishEdit

NounEdit

famous last words

  1. A notable final utterance before death, especially one made by a celebrity or historical figure.
    • 1908, "“Don't Give Up The Ship.”," New York Times, 5 Jan. (retrieved 2 Oct 2010):
      Lawrence died defending his vessel and his famous last words, "Don't give up the ship," have been familiar to every schoolboy.
    • 1996, Jane Irwin (editor), George Eliot's Daniel Deronda Notebooks, ISBN 0521460646, p. 367:
      When Arria's husband was hesitating to kill himself, she stabbed herself with his dagger, to demonstrate to him how to accomplish a noble suicide. Her famous last wordsPaete, non dolet ["Paetus, it does not hurt!"].
  2. (figuratively, expressing sarcasm) A statement which is overly optimistic, results from overconfidence, or lacks realistic foresight.
    • 1986, Janice Castro et al. "The Price Was Finally Right," Time, 9 June:
      Says one Sperry product executive: "As a manager, there is almost nothing you can do to get fired here." Considering the new circumstances, those could be famous last words.
    • 1989, Danielle Steele, Season of Passion, ISBN 9780440177043, p. 246:
      "But Nick—I'm never getting married again. I'm serious about that."
      "Famous last words."
    • 2007, Suzanne Brockmann, Into the Storm, ISBN 9780345480156, p. 417:
      "Lindsey and Tess are both armed. And Stella and Robert are here. We're ridiculously safe."
      "Those sound like such famous last words," Dave said.
Last modified on 20 June 2013, at 17:54