Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Pact of the Last Man ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Pact of the Last Man
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: scramblecat-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 13 Mar 2005 08:13 PST
Expires: 12 Apr 2005 09:13 PDT
Question ID: 493875
What is the name given to the "pact" that "gives" the last person
involved in the pact to take a drink or take an action meant to honor
those that died before them?
Subject: Re: Pact of the Last Man
Answered By: mathtalk-ga on 13 Mar 2005 22:08 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi, scramblecat-ga

Such an arrangement is often called a "tontine".  Originally a tontine was:

"A system of annuities in which the benefits pass to the surviving
subscribers until only one is left."

[Weird Words: Tontine]

The name tontine is derived from "Lorenzo Tonti, a Neapolitan banker
who started such a scheme in France in 1653, though it has been said
that they were known in Italy earlier."

The monetary aspect, though providing an excellent motive for murder
mystery writers, has been deemphasized in the recent traditions of
"tontine".  The specific topic of a bottle of fine wine or other act
of rememberance was raised in a Google Answers post by pcventures-ga
and nicely handled by tutuzdad-ga here:

[Google Answers: Five men buy a bottle wine or liquor... only the
survivor gets to drink it]

Such arrangements are also known by the phrase "last man's club".  For
an account of such a club to which Wilbur Wright (of the famous Wright
Brothers) belonged, see here:

[Three Wright Brothers and A "Last Man's" Club]

"Had Orville, who was then 15, been older he likely would have been included."

A more recent tontine or "last man's club" is described here:

[Whiskey waits for last man standing]

"Someday, so club bylaws state, the group's last survivor is to open
the bottle and toast his 160 or so departed comrades."

regards, mathtalk-ga
scramblecat-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
More than expected, loved the history, prooved a bet, but could not
think of the actual word.. it will make my day.  I feel the $5.00 is
enough for this particular answers, but I loved the service and thanks
to mathtalk-ga!!!!

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy