Part of speech: noun
Origin: American English, 19th century
A compliment from a third person that is relayed to the person complimented in exchange for a similarly relayed compliment.
Examples of Trade-Last in a sentence
"Tom told me Sarah loved my haircut, so, as a trade-last, I told him Carnie said he was handsome."
"I don’t need a trade-last, I’m just telling you Jan said you were brilliant."
Popularity Over Time
The expression “trade-last” emerged in the late 19th century as a shortening of the phrase “will you trade your last compliment?” which was later shortened to “will you trade your last?”
Did you Know?
“Trade-last” is an old but charming expression that describes giving compliments in a somewhat convoluted fashion. For example, John tells Ringo that Paul thinks Ringo is a great drummer. In exchange, Ringo reveals to John that George is a fan of his latest lyrics. It’s similar to “paying it forward,” but rather than leaving something of value for the next person to enjoy, a speaker requesting a “trade-last” is doing so in hopes the person they’re talking to has another compliment to trade.