for dear life

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia.
Related to for dear life: true-to-life

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

for dear (or your) life

as if or in order to escape death.
1992 Independent I made for the life raft and hung on for dear life.
See also: dear, life

for dear ˈlife


for your ˈlife

because you are in danger: Run for your life! A tiger has escaped from the circus!They were clinging for dear life to the edge of the rock.
See also: dear, life

for dear life

Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.
See also: dear, life
References in periodicals archive ?
Cut and run in the former and hang on, maybe for dear life, in the latter.
A WEEK ago today, the front page of the Racing Post carried a fantastic photograph of top US-based rider Julien Leparoux evidently clinging for dear life to the head of his mount Sanibel Storm in a race at Keeneland back in April.
Now David Gibbs, the attorney who fought for Terri Schiavo, speaks out in "Fighting for Dear Life," offering information the nation was previously denied.
A Daredevil & Two Boards: Ralph Samuelson, The Lake Pepin Pioneer Who Invented Water Skiing is as entertaining as it is informative, and a "must read" for anyone who has ever strapped on a pair of waterskis and held on for dear life to the tow rope of a motorboat while swiftly skimming over the surface of a lake or river
Part game, part sport, part quasi-religious experience, it is an event fed directly into the global collective conscious via virtual reality chairs occupied by the enthralled billions of the world, young and old alike, who hang onto it as if for dear life.
Stick it in the ground, light it, cover your ears, and run for dear life.
I remember holding on to the oar for dear life but letting it slip," Fogle, a television wildlife presenter, told the Daily Telegraph.
Over the decades, Tuttle's art has held on for dear life to these effects.
But for now, those giant river otters--not to mention hundreds of thousands of other threatened rainforest species--are hanging on for dear life, so catch sight of them while you can at a place like Posada Amazonas.
I really did feel sorry for her as she posed, preened and pranced down the red carpet like a child performing at stage school while hanging on to her smug-looking husband's arm for dear life.
Top Thrill Dragster, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, opens in May for Cedar Point's 2003 season Reaching 120 mph in four seconds flat isn't all this baby can do Hold on for dear life as you rocket straight up to the top twist and plummet down the vertical drop in a free fall and then spiral before crossing the finish line.
During those years I led a life of "white-knuckle" celibacy, hanging on by my fingertips for dear life.
I climbed to the catwalk and hung on for dear life.
They have reason to believe in the principle of "reasonable doubt" and hang onto it for dear life.
Instead of growing within the comfy confines of a womb, they are born extremely early in their development and then spend weeks in an external pouch, hanging for dear life onto a nipple.