At the eleventh hour

Some time ago I read in English “The Woman in White” by Wilkie Collins and really liked the story and its characters. I met there – for the first time – an English phrase “at the eleventh hour” and understood from the context that it meant “at the last moment”. I looked at my dictionary and browsed the Internet and found the following explanation:

The eleventh hour is the last possible moment at which something can be done, or which problems or solutions might arise. The phrase, “at the eleventh” hour became popular in the 19th century, but was in use much earlier. It alludes specifically to the book of Matthew in the New Testament (20:2-16). This account in Matthew is a parable regarding workers who arrive at the eleventh hour of the workday and are still paid a full day’s wage. Biblical scholars have suggested that the parable can mean that even people who come to Christianity late in life, at the eleventh hour, will still earn the full benefits of the joys of eternal life.

Do you use this phrase?

In the Czech language we simply say “at the last moment” or more idiomatically “at five minutes to twelve”. The idiomatic expression is used only when something was achieved at the last moment. E.g. “The operation was performed at 5 minutes to twelve. Otherwise he would have died.” or “She came to the station at 5 minutes to twelve. She didn’t miss the train.” Well, I haven’t found any explanation for the time…

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Our cat found a new place for having a rest…

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The following signboard reads “Antiques”…

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And sometimes you go through a city, glance up and see something like this…

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Enchanting, isn’t it?

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