for dear life (not comparable)
- Synonym: for life
1896, Jacob A. Riis, Out of Mulberry Street: Stories of Tenement Life in New York City, published 1970, →ISBN:
Paolo sat crosslegged on his bench, stitching away for dear life.
2000 March 12, Stuart Barnes, “Swindon stunner for Curbishley”, in The Guardian, →ISSN:
After 12 successive league wins […] Charlton were nobbled by the First Division's no-hopers, who profited from a goalkeeping bloomer then held on to their lead for dear life.
2005, Mary Jane McKinney, Grammardog Guide to Conrad Short Stories, →ISBN, page 27:
I remember the heat, the deluge of rain-squalls that kept us baling for dear life (but filled our water cask), and I remember sixteen hours on end with a mouth dry as a cinder and a steering oar over the stern to keep my first command head on to a breaking sea.
2012, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Chicken Soup for the Girl's Soul, →ISBN:
We want you to see that these years can be a rollercoaster ride where sometimes you have to hang on for dear life—but you will come through it.
2014, Jillian Carmichael, Middle School Crazy, →ISBN, page 1:
Each morning you get in the roller coaster car, strap yourself in, and hold on for dear life hoping you won't throw up or pass out.
2021 February 24, Greg Morse, “Great Heck: a tragic chain of events”, in RAIL, number 925, page 39:
Then came the collision: it was "like a rollercoaster ride" and she held onto the table in front of her "for dear life. Then it just stopped and all I could hear was people screaming."
Most often used with hold on or hang on.