I don't want to alarm you, but

I don't want to alarm you, but

A phrase used before sharing bad news (which is stated after "but"). I don't want to alarm you, but the printer called about a few problems with our latest issue. I don't want to alarm you, but the dog has been limping around all day—I think we need to take him to the vet tonight.
See also: alarm, but, want
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

I don't want to alarm you, but

 and I don't want to upset you, but
an expression used to introduce bad or shocking news or gossip. Bill: I don't want to alarm you, but I see someone prowling around your car. Mary: Oh, goodness! I'll call the police! Bob: I don't want to upset you, but I have some bad news. Tom: Let me have it.
See also: alarm, but, want
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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