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Last-Ditch effort & etymology

Last-Ditch effort & etymology

May 27, 2010, 7:14 PM 2

Last ditch efforts are worth the effort.  As you can see from my surprise victory over the computer.  I didn't run the game through analysis afterwards and I am having a hard time reconstructing this desperate situation.   I never stopped my offensive which kept the computer from using her very good situation.

After the game I found myself googling "last ditch effort".   I wasn't curious enough to dish out a couple hundred dollars to check Oxford English Dictionary online but a blog satisfied my curiosity. Its a military metaphor with inspirational application:

‘There’s one certain means by which I can be sure never to see my country’s ruin: I will die in the last ditch.” William of Orange (c. 1677)

“Describing a desperate final measure. The last ditch was, in military terms, the last line of defense. The term had begun to be used figuratively by the eighteenth century, when Thomas Jefferson wrote, ‘A government driven to the last ditch by the universal call for liberty.’ Similarly, to ‘die in the last ditch’ means to resist to the end; it dates from the early 1700s.” From “Fighting Words: from War, Rebellion, and Other Combative Capers” by Christine Ammer (NTC Publishing Group, Chicago, 1999).”


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