c.1200, contracted from Middle English phrase les te "less that," from Old English phrase þy læs þe "whereby less that," from þy (instrumental case of demonstrative article þæt “that”) + læs (“less”) + þe (“the”). The þy was dropped and the remaining two words contracted into leste.
- Rhymes: -ɛst
- For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not; in case.
2013 July 27, “Lunacy?”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8846:
- Lest any astrologer reading this result get cocky, Dr Cajochen does not believe that what he has found is directly influenced by the Moon through, say, some tidal effect. What he thinks he has discovered is an additional hand on the body’s clock-face.
- He won't go outside, lest he be eaten by those ravenous eagles.
- That (without the negative particle); – after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension.
1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, The Celebrity:
- Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.
The word lest is always followed by the subjunctive mood, usually in either the present or future tense.
For example: Lest they be captured, the soldiers fled from the battlefield.
The future subjunctive would simply employ the auxiliary word should.
- (for fear that): before (informal)
- second- and third-person singular present indicative of lessen
- (archaic) plural imperative of lessen
From Dutch last
lest m (plural lests)
- "lest" in le Trésor de la langue française informatisé (The Digitized Treasury of the French Language).
- train (line of connected cars or carriages)
|Declension of lest|
This Icelandic entry was created from the translations listed at train. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see lest in the Icelandic Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) October 2009
- past participle of