hold on to (someone or something) like grim death(redirected from held on to them like grim death)
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.