English edit

Adverb edit

for dear life (not comparable)

  1. Desperately.
    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[1], →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."

Usage notes edit

Most often used with hold on or hang on.

Related terms edit

See also edit