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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!
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.
Euph. a dead person, as referred to at a funeral. Let's take a moment to meditate on the life of the dear departed.
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.
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."
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.
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.
close to your heartalso dear to your heart
of great importance to you The issue of race is one that is close to his 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.
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.
your nearest and dearest
your family My wife and dozens of her nearest and dearest are from West Virginia.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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]
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.
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?"
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.
for dear life
Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.