hold on to (someone or something) like grim death(redirected from held on to one like grim death)
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hold on to (someone or something) like grim death
To clutch someone or something very tightly, usually to avoid falling. After the ladder tipped over, I held on to the roof like grim death so that I didn't fall.
hang on/hold on (to somebody/something) like grim ˈdeathhold somebody/something very tightly, usually because you are afraid or determined not to let go: As the horse galloped off, you could see poor Sarah hanging on like grim death. ♢ The robbers tried to steal my bag, but I held on to it like grim death.
The word grim (= very serious or unpleasant) is often used to describe death.