Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The latest possible time: turned in the report at the eleventh hour.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A point in time which is nearly too late; the last minute.
  • n. Used attributively.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the latest possible moment

Etymologies

From a story in the Bible of workmen hired at the eleventh hour (that is, late in the day): (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Stearns Wheeler dreams that it is possible to draw at this eleventh hour some possible manuscript out of the unedited treasures of Teufelsdrockh's cabinets.

    The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834-1872, Vol. I

  • Joseph IIX Roman Emperor of the German nation, saw with fear and trepidation how his House, forced to the outermost corner of the Empire, would one day inevitably vanish in the maelstrom of a Babylon of nations unless at the eleventh hour the omissions of his forefathers were made good.

    Mein Kampf

  • After all, only at the eleventh hour did legionaries remove their shields from protective covers.

    The Spartacus War

  • All I could do was lie there, trying to staunch my neck wound with my sleeve, praying that I'd not be hit again - God, of all the cruel strokes of fate, after all my scheming and evasion and taking cover, at the eleventh hour I'd leapt from the fire back into the frying-pan, and now there was nowhere to run, even if I'd been able to.

    Flashman and the angel of the lord

  • I saw Flower yesterday, and I find that my present colleague in the Hunterian Professorship wishes to get rid of his share in the lectures, having, I suppose, at the eleventh hour discovered his incompetency.

    The Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley

  • But he that confesses and forsakes his sins even at the eleventh hour shall always find mercy, and so it was with Lord Kenmure.

    Samuel Rutherford

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