Etymology
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last-ditch (adj.)

"on the last line of defense," 1909, from an image attested by 1715, from a quote attributed to William of Orange (1650-1702), who is said to have uttered it defiantly during the French invasion of 1672; if so, originally in a Netherlands context.

We have no space to enter into the detail of the heroic struggle maintained by the young stadtholder and his faithful Dutchmen; how they laid their country under water, and successfully kept the powerful invader at bay. Once the contest seemed utterly hopeless. William was advised to compromise the matter, and yield up Holland as the conquest of Louis XIV. "No," replied he; "I mean to die in the last ditch." A speech alone sufficient to render his memory immortal. [Agnes Strickland, "Lives of the Queens of England," London, 1847]
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half-wit (n.)

"simpleton" (one lacking all his wits), 1755, from half + wit (n.). Earlier "a would-be wit whose abilities are mediocre" (1670s).

Half-wits are fleas; so little and so light,
We scarce could know they live, but that they bite.
[Dryden, "All for Love"]

Phrase out of half wit "half out of one's mind" was in Middle English (late 14c.). Half-witted "lacking common sense" is from 1640s.

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half-track (n.)
also halftrack, type of military vehicle with traction-chains as well as wheels, 1927, from half + track (n.).
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half-cent (n.)
U.S. copper coin minted from 1793 to 1857, established and named in the 1786 resolution for a new monetary system; see half + cent.
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half-caste (adj.)
1789, Anglo-Indian, in reference to the offspring of a European father and an Asian mother, from half + caste.
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half-shirt (n.)
1660s, "shirt front," from half + shirt. In modern use, "shirt cropped high at the waist," 2000.
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half-time (n.)
also halftime, half time, indicating "half of the time," 1640s, from half + time (n.). Tempo sense is by 1880. In football, from 1867.
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half-hour (n.)
"period of thirty minutes," early 15c., from half + hour. Related: Half-hourly.
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