The English idiom, “at the eleventh hour” is often used in conversation. It can seem rather confusing if you do not have prior knowledge of what it means.
The expression is used to denote the fact that something has happened at the very last possible minute. Other expressions with the same or very similar meanings are “late in the night” and “to burn the midnight oil.”
The reasoning behind this expression is that the “eleventh hour” is only 1 hour before the final hour on the clock and therefore if something is done at this time, it is done just before the clock “restarts,” so to speak.
The expression came into widespread use in the 19th century although it is suggested that it actually has it’s roots in the Bible, specifically in Matthew 20:9 which reads “and when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour they received every man a denarius.”
An example of the use of the expression can be found in a quote from Max Brooks who states “if you believe you can accomplish everything by “cramming” at the eleventh hour, by all means, don’t lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to build your ark once it has already started raining”