Is there an idiom that is similar in meaning to the last straw that broke the camel's back, except with positive connotations? For eg., how do I idiomatically express that "the My Little Pwny mount was the final factor that helped me decide to install HotS"?

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    @FumbleFingers I can swear I didn't see your full comment when I wrote mine. I'll change my answer to community wiki or delete it if you like. Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 18:30
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    @FumbleFingers "Clincher" looks like what I was looking for, thanks. I'm ok with this question being closed as a duplicate, as long as it'll be available for future googlers (some of whom too might be thinking about a straw-camel opposite rather than a deal-breaking opposite).
    – Sundar R
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 19:07
  • @sundar: Yes, it's definitely a good thing that ELU allows us to retain closed questions in this way. I only found the earlier duplicate because clincher came to mind, so I specifically searched the site for that word (at which point I realised it was my answer, so it's not surprising I thought of the same word again! :). But as you say, future visitors will use different search terms for the same basic question - the more ways they can get through to what they're looking for, the better. Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 20:23
  • How about "last piece of the puzzle"? Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 23:11

2 Answers 2


The answer is generally, deciding factor.

All things considered, there were pros and cons for each choice. However, I chose 'bar'. The deciding factor for my choice was widget synergy with additional paradigm leveraging.

  • Yes, but 'the last straw' has a negative denotation, whereas 'deciding factor' does not necessarily have a positive one. Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 21:01
  • @EdwinAshworth within reason, I think that most, if not all, positive denotations can be ambiguous, even with regards to clincher. (ex: The clincher was that the other option didn't have [necessary feature].) The factor that made the choice determinable could be that the alternative(s) were unsatisfactory. It doesn't necessarily mean that the decision was made based upon a positive factor. See also lesser of two weevils
    – SrJoven
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 21:19
  • I agree. Hence there is no satisfactory answer here (to OP's stipulation of 'but positive'). I was about to upvote for 'deciding factor' as the closest fit, especially as it's what came into my mind, but had to check myself. Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 21:34
  • And the winner is ... :)
    – SrJoven
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 22:17
  • Captain Jack Aubrey, I suppose. Commented Aug 25, 2014 at 6:06

The possible duplicate referred to by FumbleFingers points to some terms that may fit, but if you are looking for something in the same register as "the straw that broke the camel's back" and having the same folksy sound, consider the icing on the cake.

It's defined at wiktionary with a good example:

Something that intensifies the appreciation of something already good.

"We went out for dinner and dancing and the icing on the cake was when my boyfriend proposed to me as we danced."

Definitions don't say this when explaining the idiom, but the icing is usually the last thing that goes on the cake, finishing it and making it presentable. However, when used as an idiom, it's not necessarily the "last" thing in the same sense that the straw that broke the camels back is, but it can be used in your example with the effect you are trying to achieve.

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    In light of your comment on the question, I'll refrain from actually downvoting. But per my own comment, I don't think icing on the cake would normally work in the context of deciding factor - it's more usually applied to some final "bonus, benefit" that arises after all the important things have been dealt with. Such as deciding what choice to make, and later discovering that your choice had an extra benefit that you hadn't even taken account of when making the decision. Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 18:35
  • @FumbleFingers 'Clincher', which you mentioned, is the nearest opposite I can think of.
    – WS2
    Commented Aug 24, 2014 at 19:38

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