Etymology
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lasting (adj.)

"continuing in time," late Old English, present-participle adjective from last (v.). Related: Lastingly; lastingness.

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testament (n.)

late 13c., "last will disposing of property," from Latin testamentum "a last will, publication of a will," from testari "make a will, be witness to," from testis "witness," from PIE *tri-st-i- "third person standing by," from root *tris- "three" (see three) on the notion of "third person, disinterested witness."

Use in reference to the two divisions of the Bible (early 14c.) is from Late Latin vetus testamentum and novum testamentum, loan-translations of Greek palaia diatheke and kaine diatheke. Late Latin testamentum in this case was a confusion of the two meanings of Greek diatheke, which meant both "covenant, dispensation" and "will, testament," and was used in the former sense in the account of the Last Supper (see testimony) but subsequently was interpreted as Christ's "last will."

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gasp (n.)

1570s, from gasp (v.). Earliest attested use is in the phrase last gasp "final breath before dying." To gasp up the ghost "die" is attested from 1530s.

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extremities (n.)

early 15c., "hands and feet, uttermost parts of the body," plural of extremity. Meaning "a person's last moments" is from c. 1600.

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Gotterdammerung (n.)

1909 in the figurative sense of "complete overthrow" of something; from German Götterdämmerung (18c.), literally "twilight of the gods," from genitive plural of Gott "god" (see god) + Dämmerung "dusk, twilight," from PIE root *teme- "dark" (see temerity). Used by Wagner as the title of the last opera in the Ring cycle. It translates Old Norse ragna rok "the doom or destruction of the gods, the last day, world's end." A better transliteration is Goetterdaemmerung.

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ultimatum (n.)

"final demand," 1731, from Modern Latin, from Medieval Latin ultimatum "a final statement," noun use of Latin adjective ultimatum "last possible, final," neuter of ultimatus (see ultimate). The Latin plural ultimata was used by the Romans as a noun, "what is farthest or most remote; the last, the end." In slang c. 1820s, ultimatum was used for "the buttocks."

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viewing (n.)

1540s, "inspection," verbal noun from view (v.). From 1944 as "last presentation of a dead body before the funeral" (earlier viewing (of) the remains, 1920); from 1959 as "the watching of television."

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ballast (n.)

"heavy material used to steady a ship," 1520s, from Middle English bar "bare" (see bare (adj.); in this case "mere") + last "a load, burden," from Proto-Germanic *hlasta-, from PIE root *klā- "to spread out flat" (see lade). Or borrowed from identical terms in North Sea Germanic and Scandinavian (compare Old Danish barlast, 14c.). "Mere" because not carried for commercial purposes. Dutch balg-last "ballast," literally "belly-load," is a folk-etymology corruption.

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Belshazzar 

last Chaldean king of Babylon (Daniel v), from Hebrew Belshatztzar, a contraction of Akkadian Bel-shar-usur, literally "Bel-protect-the-king" (see Bel).

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zymurgy (n.)

branch of chemistry which deals with wine-making and brewing, 1868, from Greek zymo-, combining form of zymē "a leaven" (from PIE root *yeue-; see juice) + -ourgia "a working," from ergon "work" (from PIE root *werg- "to do").

The last word in many standard English dictionaries (and this one); but Century Dictionary ends with Zyxomma ("A genus of Indian dragon-flies") and in the OED [2nd ed.] the last word is zyxt, an obsolete Kentish form of the second person singular of see (v.).

At the dictionary's letter A
Mr. Brandt is young and gay
But when at last he reaches zed
He's in his wheelchair, nearly dead
[Einar Haugen]
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