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"on the/his/her last ropes"

Posted by Smokey Stover on December 16, 2005

In Reply to: "on the/his/her last ropes" posted by RRC 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.

: I think you have probably combined several phrases into one - "he's on the ropes" and "you get on my last nerve" (maybe a little "the last straw" thrown in?). "On the ropes" is pretty much as you describe. "You're on my last nerve" means you irritate/annoy the person so much that they are about to lose their temper. "The last straw" is "the straw that broke the camel's back" - after a bad day, losing my keys was the last straw. RRC

Or at the end of her rope because she is already on the ropes. Lordy, let's cancel it all out and start again. SS