Definition of for fear of (or that) in US English:

for fear of (or that)


  • To avoid the risk of (or that)

    ‘no one dared refuse the order for fear of losing their job’
    • ‘I cannot allow my friends' children to play there for fear of what they may step in.’
    • ‘I do not let my seven and eight year olds play out for fear of what might happen.’
    • ‘Players were afraid to take defensive risks for fear that no one would help out, and often no one would.’
    • ‘Annie wanted to scream, but didn't dare, for fear of what might happen if she did.’
    • ‘He speculated that the tree was ill and the koalas knew of it, avoiding the leaves for fear of food poisoning.’
    • ‘This is exactly the sort of compulsive behaviour I have to avoid for fear of going mad.’
    • ‘Many young people are refusing to contribute for fear that they will receive nothing back in their old age.’
    • ‘There are certain questions that you don't dare ask yourself for fear of what the answer might be.’
    • ‘It is applied in so many places that we often avoid using the word for fear that we will be misunderstood.’
    • ‘He told the court she had a violent temper and he was too afraid to cross her for fear of what she might do.’
    in case, just in case, for fear that, in order to avoid, to avoid the risk of
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