on one's last legs

on one's last legs


  1. either of the two lower limbs of a biped, as a human being, or any of the paired limbs of an animal, arthropod, etc., that support and move the body.
  2. Anatomy. the lower limb of a human being from the knee to the ankle.
  3. something resembling or suggesting a leg in use, position, or appearance.
  4. the part of a garment that covers the leg: the leg of a stocking; trouser leg.
  5. one of usually several, relatively tall, slender supports for a piece of furniture.
  6. one of the sides of a forked object, as of a compass or pair of dividers.
  7. one of the sides of a triangle other than the base or hypotenuse.
  8. a timber, bar, or the like, serving to prop or shore up a structure.
  9. one of the flanges of an angle iron.
  10. one of the distinct sections of any course: the last leg of a trip.
  11. Nautical.
    1. one of the series of straight runs that make up the zigzag course of a sailing ship.
    2. one straight or nearly straight part of a multiple-sided course in a sailing race.
  12. Sports.
    1. one of a designated number of contests that must be successfully completed in order to determine the winner.
    2. one of the stretches or sections of a relay race.
  13. legs, (in wine tasting) the rivulets of wine that slowly descend along the inside of a glass after the wine has been swirled, sometimes regarded as an indication that the wine is full-bodied.
  14. Cricket.
    1. the part of the field to the left of and behind the batsman as he faces the bowler or to the right of and behind him if he is left-handed.
    2. the fielder playing this part of the field.
    3. the position of this fielder.
  15. Electricity. a component or branch of a circuit, network, antenna, etc.
  16. Radio and Television. a connecting link between stations in a network, as the microwave relays used in transmitting a show from one geographical area to another.
  17. bride2(def 1).

verb (used with object), legged, leg·ging.

  1. to move or propel (a boat) with the legs: They legged the boat through the tunnel.

Verb Phrases

  1. leg up, to help (someone) to mount a horse.


  1. leg it, Informal. to walk rapidly or run: We’d better leg it or we’ll be late for class.
  2. leg up,
    1. a means of help or encouragement; assist; boost: Studying the material with a tutor will give you a leg up on passing the exam.
    2. advantage; edge.
  3. not have a leg to stand on, to lack a valid or logical basis for one’s argument or attitude: Without evidence, the prosecutor doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
  4. on one’s/its last legs, just short of exhaustion, breakdown, failure, etc.: The aristocracy was on its last legs.
  5. pull someone’s leg,
    1. to make fun of someone; tease.
    2. to deceive someone; trick someone.
  6. shake a leg, Informal.
    1. to hurry up.
    2. Older Use.to dance.
  7. stretch one’s legs, to take a walk; get some needed exercise after prolonged sitting: He got up during the intermission to stretch his legs.


    1. either of the two lower limbs, including the bones and fleshy covering of the femur, tibia, fibula, and patella
    2. (as modifier)leg guard; leg rest Related adjective: crural
  1. any similar or analogous structure in animals that is used for locomotion or support
  2. this part of an animal, esp the thigh, used for foodleg of lamb
  3. something similar to a leg in appearance or function, such as one of the four supporting members of a chair
  4. a branch, limb, or part of a forked or jointed object
  5. the part of a garment that covers the leg
  6. a section or part of a journey or course
  7. a single stage, lap, length, etc, in a relay race
  8. either one of two races on which a cumulative bet has been placed
  9. either the opposite or adjacent side of a right-angled triangle
  10. nautical
    1. the distance travelled without tacking
    2. (in yacht racing) the course between any two marks
  11. one of a series of games, matches, or parts of games
  12. cricket
    1. the side of the field to the left of a right-handed batsman as he faces the bowler
    2. (as modifier)a leg slip; leg stump
  13. give someone a leg up
    1. to help someone to climb an obstacle by pushing upwards
    2. to help someone to advance
  14. have legs informal to be successful or show the potential to succeed
  15. not have a leg to stand on to have no reasonable or logical basis for an opinion or argument
  16. on its last legs worn out; exhausted
  17. pull someone’s leg informal to tease, fool, or make fun of someone
  18. shake a leg informal
    1. to hurry up: usually used in the imperative
    2. to dance
  19. show a leg informal to get up in the morning
  20. stretch one’s legs See stretch (def. 17)

verb legs, legging or legged

  1. (tr) obsolete to propel (a canal boat) through a tunnel by lying on one’s back and walking one’s feet along the tunnel roof
  2. leg it informal to walk, run, or hurry

v.“to use the legs; walk or run,” c.1500 (from the beginning usually with it); from leg (n.). n.late 13c., from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse leggr “leg, bone of the arm or leg,” from Proto-Germanic *lagjaz, with no certain ulterior connections, perhaps from a PIE root meaning “to bend” [Buck]. Cf. German Bein “leg,” in Old High German “bone, leg.” Replaced Old English shank. Of furniture supports from 1670s. The meaning “a part or stage of a journey or race” (1920) is from earlier sailing sense of “a run made on a single tack” (1867), which was usually qualified as long leg, short leg, etc. Slang phrase shake a leg “dance” is attested from 1881. To be on (one’s) last legs “at the end of one’s life” is from 1590s. n.

  1. One of the two lower limbs of the human body, especially the part between the knee and the foot.
  2. A supporting part resembling a leg in shape or function.

Extremely tired, close to collapsing, as in We’ve been cleaning house all day and I’m on my last legs. This hyperbolic expression originally meant “close to dying,” and in John Ray’s 1678 proverb collection it was transferred to being bankrupt. Soon afterward it was applied to the end of one’s resources, physical or otherwise. It is sometimes applied to things, as in That furnace is on its last legs. In addition to the idiom beginning with leg

  • leg up, a
  • also see:

  • arm and a leg
  • break a leg
  • on one’s last legs
  • pull someone’s leg
  • shake a leg
  • stretch one’s legs
  • tail between one’s legs
  • without a leg to stand on
  • 49 queries 0.729