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Difference between Die in a ditch and Die in the last ditch

die in a ditchdie destitute in dire poverty:

  • He who abstains from whisky will never die in a ditch.

die in the last ditchfight desperately defending smth. to the last:

  • I can be sure never to see my country’s ruin: I will die in the last ditch.

Cf.: last-ditch effort—a desperate final attempt:

  • He is negotiating with prosecutors in a last-ditch effort to avert trial.