dear

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after you, my dear Alphonse

A phrase typically said when two people try to do the same thing at the same time. It derives from the 1920s comic strip Happy Hooligan, which featured two very well-mannered Frenchmen, Alphonse and Gaston. No, no, you go first—after you, my dear Alphonse!
See also: after, dear

Dear John letter

A letter sent, typically from a woman to a man, to end a romantic relationship. Mike was clearly upset when he received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend, Caroline. He thought their relationship was going well and didn't expect it to end so suddenly. Mail call was usually a happy time in the military barracks, except for the unlucky soldiers who got Dear John letters from their sweethearts back home.
See also: dear, john, letter

dear departed

Euph. a dead person, as referred to at a funeral. Let's take a moment to meditate on the life of the dear departed.
See also: dear

a Dear John letter

a letter a woman writes to her boyfriend telling him that she does not love him anymore. Bert got a Dear John letter today from Sally. He was devastated.
See also: dear, john, letter

Dear me!

an expression of mild dismay or regret. Sue: Dear me, is this all there is? Mary: There's more in the kitchen. "Oh, dear me!" fretted John, "I'm late again."
See also: dear

hang on for dear life

Cliché to hang on tight. As the little plane bounced around over the mountains, we hung on for dear life.
See also: dear, hang, life, on

thing you don't want is dear at any price

Prov. You should not buy something just because it is cheap. Jill: There's a sale on black-and-white film; we should get some. Jane: We never use black-and-white film. Jill: But it's so cheap. Jane: A thing you don't want is dear at any price.
See also: any, dear, price, thing, want

close to your heart

also dear to your heart
of great importance to you The issue of race is one that is close to his heart.
See also: close, heart

hold on for dear life

to use a lot of effort to keep something With so few jobs available, workers are holding on for dear life to the jobs they already have.
See also: dear, hold, life, on

near and dear to you

very important to you People usually give more attention to the things that are particularly near and dear to them.
See also: and, dear, near

your nearest and dearest

your family My wife and dozens of her nearest and dearest are from West Virginia.
See also: and, dear, near

cost somebody dear

if something that someone does, especially something stupid, costs them dear, it causes them a lot of problems Later that year he attacked a photographer, an incident that cost him dear.
See count the cost, and hang the cost
See also: cost, dear

a Dear John letter

  (humorous)
a letter that you send to a man telling him you want to end a romantic relationship with him I've always thought Dear John letters a cowardly way of ending a relationship.
See also: dear, john, letter

hang/hold on (to something/somebody) for dear life

to hold something or someone as tightly as you can in order to avoid falling I sat behind Gary on the bike and hung on for dear life as we sped off. A rope was passed down and she held on to it for dear life as she was pulled to safety.
See cost dear, close to heart
See also: dear, hang, life, on

close/dear to somebody's heart

if something is dear to someone's heart, it is very important to them Animal rights is an issue very close to my heart.
See also: close, heart

your nearest and dearest

  (humorous)
your family When people are stressed at work, they tend to go home and take it out on their nearest and dearest.
See also: and, dear, near

dear me

Also, oh dear. A polite exclamation expressing surprise, distress, sympathy, etc. For example, Dear me, I forgot to mail it, or Oh dear, what a bad time you've been having. These usages may originally have invoked God, as in dear God or oh God , which also continue to be so used. [Late 1600s]
See also: dear

for dear life

Also, for one's life. Desperately, urgently, so as to save one's life. For example, When the boat capsized, I hung on for dear life, or With the dogs chasing them they ran for their lives, or She wanted that vase but I saw it first and hung on to it for dear life. These expressions are sometimes hyperbolic (that is, one's life may not actually be in danger). The first dates from the mid-1800s, the variant from the first half of the 1600s. Also see for the life of one.
See also: dear, life

nearest and dearest

One's closest and fondest friends, companions, or relatives, as in It's a small gathering-we're inviting only a dozen or so of our nearest and dearest. This rhyming expression has been used ironically since the late 1500s, as well as by Shakespeare in 1 Henry IV (3:2): "Why, Harry, do I tell thee of my foes, which art my nearest and dearest enemy?"
See also: and, dear, near

Dear John letter

n. a letter a woman writes to her boyfriend in the military service telling him that she does not love him anymore. Sally sends a Dear John letter about once a month.
See also: dear, john, letter

for dear life

Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.
See also: dear, life
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CUSOs should keep in mind three objectives as they consider a possible merger, Dearing said.
As with any such UFO sighting, while Dearing remains convinced, others have moved to dismiss her claims.
Dearing worked for many years as a linesman for Verizon.
But it was as chairman of the Post Office that Ron Dearing - Sir Ron, from 1984 - came into the public eye.
Unopened mail led them to Dearing, who had moved out, leaving the dogs alone and without food.
Beside him, Dearing let loose with the big C-6 machine-gun, and the other rifleman blasted away several mags in quick succession.
Dearing, 23, then decided to phone the police, magistrates in Blackburn, Lancashire, were told.
If and once a plan and transit method are chosen, implementation would be done in stages, taking 15 to 20 years before a full system would be in place, Dearing estimates.
SURPRISE GIFT: Holly Nicole Dearing with mum Adriana Dearing.
A combination of creativity, setting, composition, and style, according to our panel of distinguished judges--Big Tree photographer Albin Dearing, Washington Post photographer Michael Williamson, AMERICAN FORESTS Big Tree Coordinator Katie Byrne, and Maryland Forester Maureen Brooks.
Bill" Dearing, president of NALFA, which was founded in January 1997.
Dearing, Veterans in Politics: The Story of the GAR (Baton Rouge, 1952).
Dearing, chairman and chief executive officer of ARI.
From next year the Ron Dearing UTC will open to meet a growing need for more young people with engineering skills in Hull, resulting from projects like Green Port Hull - a plant predicted to create 1,000 jobs in the manufacture, assembly and service of off-shore wind technology.
A report next week by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority is likely to accept ideas from last March's Dearing Review.