The Last Straw (Origin)

by Craig Shrives

What Is the Origin of the Saying "The Last Straw"?

The term "the last straw" means a small burden that finally culminates with others to create an unbearable situation.
The Last Straw (Origin)

Examples of Use:

  • I can't take it any more. This is the last straw!
  • I've always found Jack rude, but that comment was the last straw. I'm going to have a word with him.
  • That push in the back was the last straw. The referee is going to show him a yellow card.
The full version of "the last straw" is "the last straw that breaks the camel's back." The idiom presents the idea that the most recent "straw" (a metaphor for a small problem) has added to all the other "straws" (problems), culminating in a break-down.

This idiom is a variant of the early 19th century proverb "it is the last feather that breaks the horse's back."

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