for fear of
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for fear of (something)
Because one is afraid of something or that something will happen. We closed the shop early for fear of the impending snow storm.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
for fear of something
out of fear for something; because of fear of something. He doesn't drive for fear of an accident. They lock their car doors for fear of being attacked.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
for fear of
Also, for fear that. In order to avoid or prevent, in case of. For example, They closed all the windows for fear of rain. The variant is always used before a clause, as in She wouldn't let her children climb trees for fear that they would fall. The first term dates from the late 1400s, the second from about 1600.
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 fear of something/of doing something,
for fear (that)...because you do not want something bad to happen: I’m not going to put it in the washing machine for fear of spoiling it. ♢ I had to keep my opinions secret for fear (that) I would lose my job.
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