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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 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

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

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

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

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
After receiving the statement from Shea, NCR asked a communications official from the Maryland Jesuits on the phone if Shea could respond to allegations Dear makes concerning the order's commitment to social justice ministry and the vision of its late leader Jesuit Fr.
Troopers subsequently returned to the Springfield motel and arrested Dear.
Marie, Glasgow Dear Marie, Glasgow Dear Marie You shared a wonderful life together and your husband is showing me many times when you were laughing and enjoying being with each other.
Treasured memories of our dear friend Alice, who died one year today.
Dear Sir I have never written to a newspaper before.
Dear Tree Doctor: What happens if you add dirt to an established tree at its base?
Dear Right Size, There is no "normal" way a pair of eyes or ears or hands is supposed to look, right?
In an attempt to stop Dear from banging on the door, Meyer went outside to talk to him.
Craven's large-scale Dear in Daisies, 1998, and smaller postscripts such as Dear and Daisies (The Life of Fawn), 2002, and Little Dear, 2002, feature an innocent-looking young fawn nestled in a sylvan field of daisies--the deer image lifted directly from the film-within-a-film of Soylent Green's beautiful and antiseptic planned-death clinic called Home.
The Department of Defense called the effort "Operation Dear Abby.
John Dear became convinced of that during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in the summer of 1984, as Israeli jets flew above him and dropped bombs on Lebanon.
1] Michael Dear in his new book The Postmodern Urban Condition sets out the dimensions of the inescapable urbanization of humanity.
Broadly speaking I wanted to see how race entered and exited these poems, and to check out the formal qualities of the poems, all the time keeping in mind the poems from previous collections, dating back to Dear John, Dear Coltrane and History Is Your Own Heartbeat, telltale titles that tell us a great deal about where Harper is coming from.
We've also added a great new social dimension to Eventful," said Brian Dear, founder and CEO of EVDB, Inc.