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last word (plural last words)

  1. (idiomatic, often preceded by the and followed by in) The finest, highest, or ultimate representative of some class of objects.
    • 1917, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne's House of Dreams, ch. 39:
      Little Joe's mother's cake was the last word in cakes.
    • 1928, D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover, ch. 3:
      Michaelis was the last word in what was caddish and bounderish.
  2. (idiomatic) Concluding remark; final observation, advice, or instructions.
    • 1877, Henry James, The American, ch. 12:
      "I have got my leave, and that is all I want."
      "You had better receive the last word from my mother," said the marquis.
      "Very good; I will go and get it," said Newman.
    • 1918, W. H. Hudson, Far Away and Long Ago, ch. 24:
      [W]hen we had grasped hands for the last time and had said our last good-bye, he added this one more last word: "Of all the people I have ever known you are the only one I don't know."
  3. (often pluralized) The final statement uttered by a person before death.
    • 1889 Sept. 11, Mark Twain, "Last Words of Great Men," Buffalo Express:
      Benjamin Franklin. . . pondered over his last words for as much as two weeks, and then when the time came, he said, "None but the brave deserve the fair," and died happy.
    • 1912, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Lost World, ch. 7:
      This account I am transmitting down the river by canoe, and it may be our last word to those who are interested in our fate.
  4. (idiomatic) A final decision, or the right to make such a decision.
    • 2008 July 9, Jeff Israely, "Where Is the Afghan Female Runner?," Time:
      An Afghan Olympic official said the team holds the right to substitute Andyar with another female athlete, though the IOC would have the last word.


  • (finest or ultimate representative): exemplar


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.