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, 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 classic literature ?
As I had told him originally to drive for dear life down town, I suppose he thought me insane.
Thus threatened, the unhappy scarecrow had nothing for it but to puff away for dear life.
Clinging on for dear life, the victim was hauled through the water and up the rocky shore - battered, exhausted but safe.
TOURISTS clung on for dear life as they braved a glass aerial walkway on the side of a mountain in China.
Love Island UTV Ireland, 9pm nightly It's the last week and the desperate couples are trying to hold on for dear life to win the [euro]50,000.
Although smartly directed by David Hyde Pierce, the slender sitcom hangs for dear life on the appeal of its engaging stars, Marylouise Burke and Holland Taylor.
Mighty Malolos fights for dear life today as it clashes with Metro Racal in the final elimination-round playdate of the Filsports Basketball Association Unity Cup at the Colegio de San Sebastian Gym in San Fernando, Pampanga.
I say 'about to' but it's been wobbling like a fence post in a tsunami for weeks and is still clinging on to his chops as if for dear life.
Then, in the boardroom, and clinging on for dear life, she told Lord Sugar she would now consider the PS6 mass market.
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.
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.
In 2009, most Americans hung on to their pocketbooks for dear life and prayed desperately for an economic miracle.