for fear of

Idioms & Phrases

for fear of

Also, for fear that. In order to avoid or prevent, in case of. For example, They closed all the windows for fear of rain. The variant is always used before a clause, as in She wouldn't let her children climb trees for fear that they would fall. The first term dates from the late 1400s, the second from about 1600.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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