What does the idiom "That's the last straw" mean?

Although the meanings of the words in them do not make any sense when examined one by one, the word groups that are shaped according to the cultural roots of the language and that make sense as a whole are called idioms. That's the last straw meaning, in what situations is it used?

Meaning of "That's the last straw"


The idiom “That’s the last straw” is used to describe a situation in which one final event or occurrence has tipped a situation over the edge, past a point of no return. It usually refers to a situation in which an individual is being pushed to their limit. The phrase implies that even seemingly small occurrences can have a huge impact on how someone feels and how they respond.


The first recorded use of the phrase “the last straw” is in the 1570s, but the earliest known version is “the laste stree” in Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. The phrase was not recorded in its current form until the 18th century. It is thought to have originated from the practice of stacking straws on an animal’s back to see how much it could carry before it reached breaking point. In this context, the “last straw” was the straw that pushed the animal past its limit.


The idiom “That’s the last straw” is commonly used to describe situations in which someone has felt backed into a corner or pushed beyond their limits. It can be used in a variety of situations, such as when someone has endured a long period of difficult or unpleasant circumstances, or when they feel they have been wronged or taken advantage of. In informal contexts, it can also be used to describe a less serious, but still aggravating, occurrence.

Example Sentences

  • I’ve been dealing with this problem for months, and now this is the last straw. I’ve had enough.
  • I’ve put up with a lot from my boss, but that’s the last straw. I'm done.
  • I was already grumpy, and then he said something rude - that’s the last straw.

The meanings of the words in the "That's the last straw" idiom

Idioms have a common language

"The early bird catches the worm" is an English idiom that means that those who wake up early and start their day early are more likely to succeed. A similar idiom in Spanish is "El que madruga, Dios le ayuda," which translates to "God helps those who rise early." This idiom emphasizes the importance of starting the day early in order to achieve success.


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