the last straw

Definition

The idiom ‘the last straw’ is used to refer to a seemingly small event that finally leads to a great deal of frustration, annoyance, or exhaustion.

Examples

My boss has been nagging me all day, and his latest comment was the last straw – I’m quitting!

I tried to be patient with my neighbor’s noise, but when they started playing loud music at 3am, it was the last straw.

I’d been dealing with family issues for weeks, but when my car broke down, it was the last straw.

The principal had already put up with too much student misbehavior, so when one student threw a tantrum, it was the last straw.

Origin

The phrase is believed to be derived from the practice of farmers loading straw on the backs of animals, such as camels and donkeys. Once the animal was loaded with as much straw as it could bear, the farmer would place one more straw on its back, which would be ‘the last straw’ and cause the animal to break under the weight.

FAQs

Question

What does ‘the last straw’ mean?

Answer

The idiom ‘the last straw’ is used to refer to a seemingly small event that finally leads to a great deal of frustration, annoyance, or exhaustion.

Question

Where does the phrase ‘the last straw’ come from?

Answer

The phrase is believed to be derived from the practice of farmers loading straw on the backs of animals, such as camels and donkeys. Once the animal was loaded with as much straw as it could bear, the farmer would place one more straw on its back, which would be ‘the last straw’ and cause the animal to break under the weight.