for dear life

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Related to for dear life: true-to-life

for dear life

As if one's life depends on it (because one is in a dangerous or grave situation, although the phrase can also be used humorously). The hiker grabbed a root as she fell off the cliff, and had to hold on for dear life while she waited for the rescue crew. When the dentist motioned us back into the examination room, my daughter clutched her chair and held on for dear life.
See also: dear, for, life
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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, for, life
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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, for, life
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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, for, life
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

for dear life

Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.
See also: dear, for, life
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
"For Dear Life" gives evidence that women's lawbreaking is often an effort to survive gender-based violence.
A video of the incident that took place on Wednesday has surfaced online where a man is seen holding on for dear life to the bonnet of a white-coloured car that careens through the roads of Indirapuram.
is still suffering after his marathon charity swim, Davina McCall's triathlon took her to hell and back, last I saw, Alex Jones was clinging on to a rock face for dear life - and all for Sport Relief.
Add the local news, sport and entertainment section and it really does leave those national tabloids clinging on for dear life. Garry Aplin, Kings Heath
Here she is giving very good back in a and this number is holding on for dear life to each and every curve on everyone's favourite Geordie.
She's probably clinging to that nice, comfy duvet in the double marital bed for dear life.
Each turn required me to hold on for dear life in case I would go flying off the boat, luckily I didn't.
When Belle finds out about Liam's drug use, he goes on a bender that leaves Aden hanging on for dear life..
7), sawhorses in Brooklyn during the Depression, horses, after all, made of words, and most overtly, poems in the sound of a man and horse running madly, "for dear life." For dear life, I hold much reverence, dear life, so full of things that constitute the reality of the temporal: that I am someone, some one, and you another one, and trees and the sky, and billboards and the news of the international financial crisis daily on the radio!
The England fly-half, 20, has been spotted hanging on to the 28-year-old beauty for dear life during their string of recent dates.
Don't be fooled for the first hundred yards or so, it's a long way to the end and I would recommend she hangs on for dear life and carries a spare set of shock absorbers.
But O'Brien's Psalm, who was backed into 5-4 favourite but her saddle slipped two furlongs out to leave Johnny Murtagh hanging on for dear life.
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.
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.