the eleventh hour


the eleventh hour


  • at the very last minute before an event
  • the latest moment possible, before it is too late

Example Sentences

  1. Just minutes before the deadline, he definitely submitted his assignment at the eleventh hour.
  2. It’s very irresponsible to leave chores until the eleventh hour before doing them.
  3. Lisa loves the thrill and rush of delivering parcels at the eleventh hour.
  4. The lady was scolded for reporting for duty at the eleventh hour.
  5. The last passenger to board the aircraft got on at the eleventh hour.


Many say that this idiom originated from the Bible. A very unlikely source, the first mention of the eleventh hour can be found in the book of Matthew, Chapter 20, verse 9. It reads “And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a denarius.” This was an allusion to the story of the labourers who came at the eleventh hour of a twelve hour working day and received the same payment as those who had come earlier and had been working all day. Following from that, this phrase has been used to refer to the very last moment before an event or deadline.

Share your opinions3 Opinions

I’m going to assume by “unlikely”, the author was trying to allude to the ambiguity surrounding the phrase’s origins, and that the Bible wouldn’t be where most people would have thought it came from? That would make more sense than outright stating that the biblical origins are probably inaccurate, given the authors understanding that there was no mention of the idiom prior to the Bible. Perhaps “unexpected” or “unconventional” would have been a better word to use.

‒ Blake December 31, 2021

When they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. Great explanation. Thank you.

‒ Kaeliean November 12, 2020

Why do you feel it necessary to state right off, that the Bible is a very unlikely source. The one book that is printed more than any other for centuries. Keep your personal opinion and state the truth, that we don’t know exactly where it came from however the bible has been and used for personal exploitation for centuries. In other words I understood that you are trying to limit our youth to truth and other resources that they only listen to your opinions. I’m not a religious fanatic or wack. Just hunting trolls spreading bias information. I’m interested the your opinion of where it was coined from, being you are ruling out the Bible for the most part.

‒ RL December 26, 2019

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