Definition of for dear (or one's) life in US English:

for dear (or one's) life


  • As if or in order to escape death.

    ‘I clung to the tree for dear life’
    ‘Sue struggled free and ran for her life’
    • ‘And they should have run for their life when they discovered the foul-smelling swamp nearby.’
    • ‘From the nature of her injuries, it was apparent that Jodi had fought desperately for her life.’
    • ‘They ran for their life and climbed a tree when the waves came.’
    • ‘Put it this way: of the current team, who would you most like batting for your life?’
    • ‘You don't give a damn if you feel you are fighting for your life.’
    • ‘After he had been interrogated, and fearing for his life, he escaped through a police station window.’
    • ‘Today, she is desperately fighting for her life in hospital and a bone marrow transplant is the only thing that could cure her.’
    • ‘If you hear a candidate say, ‘I'd like to plant a thought in your mind,’ you'd better run for your life.’
    • ‘I spent days three and four fighting for my life, desperate to gain the trust of my opponents.’
    • ‘Decaying gangs of the shambling undead fire out words and phrases at you, and you have to hammer them back, quickly, accurately, desperately, typing for your life.’
    desperately, with all one's might, with might and main, urgently, with urgency, vigorously, with as much vigour as possible, for all one is worth, as fast as possible, as hard as possible, like the devil
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