LAST. i. (A syncopated form of "latest," the superlative of O.E. laet, late), an adjective applied to the conclusion of anything, all that remains after everything else has gone, or that which has just occurred. In theology the "four last things" denote the final scenes of Death, Judgment, Heaven and Hell; the " last day " means the Day of Judgment (see ESCHATOLOGY).
2. (O.E. Idst, footstep; the word appears in many Teutonic languages, meaning foot, footstep, track, etc.; it is usually referred to a Teutonic root lais, cognate with Lat. lira, a furrow; from this root, used figuratively, came " learn " and " lore "), originally a footstep, trace or track, now only used of the model of a foot in wood on which a shoemaker makes boots and shoes; hence the proverb " let the cobbler stick to his last," " ne sutor ultra crepidam."
3. (O.E. hlaest; the work is connected with the root seen in " lade," and is used in German and Dutch of a weight; it is also seen in " ballast "), a commercial weight or measure of quantity, varying according to the commodity and locality; originally applied to the load of goods carried by the boat or wagon used in carrying any particular commodity in any particular locality, it is now chiefly used as a weight for fish, a " last " of herrings being equal to from 10,000 to 12,000 fish. The German Last = 4000 Ib, and this is frequently taken as the nominal weight of an English " last." A " last " of wool= 12 sacks, and of beer= 12 barrels.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)