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"on the/his/her last ropes"

Posted by Denis on December 16, 2005

I have seen people saying that somebody is "on the/his/her last ropes". Where does it come from? What is the image? Apparently it means that somebody is in a desperate condition. I think that the image is of a person hanging on the last rope, i.e. the last support, but I also heard that it refers to a boxer leaning on the ropes.