Definify.com

Webster 1913 Edition


Lest

Lest

(lĕst)
,
Verb.
I.
To listen.
[Obs.]
Chaucer. Spenser.

Lest

,
Noun.
[See List to choose.]
Lust; desire; pleasure.
[Obs.]
Chaucer.

Lest

,
Adj.
Last; least.
[Obs.]
Chaucer.

Lest

,
c
onj.
[OE.
leste
, fr. AS.
ðȳ lǣs ðē
the less that, where
ðȳ
is the instrumental case of the definite article, and
ðē
is an indeclinable relative particle,
that
,
who
,
which
. See
The
,
Less
,
Adj.
]
1.
For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not.
Love not sleep,
lest
thou come to poverty.
Prov. xx. 13.
Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed
lest
he fall.
1 Cor. x. 12.
2.
That (without the negative particle); – after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension.
I feared
Lest
I might anger thee.
Shakespeare

Webster 1828 Edition


Lest

LEST

,
con.
That not; for fear that.
Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. Gen. 3.
The phrase may be thus explained. Ye shall not touch it; that separated or dismissed, ye die. That here refers to the preceding command or sentence; that being removed or not observed, the fact being not so, ye will die.
Sin no more, lest a worse thing come to thee. John 5.
Sin no more; that fact not taking place, a worse thing will happen to thee.

Definition 2022


lest

lest

See also: lesť

English

Conjunction

lest

  1. For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not; in case.
    • 1967, Bob Dylan (music), “I Am a Lonesome Hobo”, in John Wesley Harding:
      Stay free from petty jealousies / Live by no man's code / And hold your judgment for yourself / Lest you wind up on this road
    • 2013 July 27, Lunacy?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8846:
      Lest any astrologer reading this result get cocky, Dr Cajochen does not believe that what he has found is directly influenced by the Moon through, say, some tidal effect. What he thinks he has discovered is an additional hand on the body’s clock-face.
    He won't go outside, lest he be eaten by those ravenous eagles.
  2. That (without the negative particle); – after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      Mr. Cooke at once began a tirade against the residents of Asquith for permitting a sandy and generally disgraceful condition of the roads. So roundly did he vituperate the inn management in particular, and with such a loud flow of words, that I trembled lest he should be heard on the veranda.

Usage notes

The word lest is always followed by the subjunctive mood, usually in either the present or future tense.

For example: Lest they be captured, the soldiers fled from the battlefield.

The future subjunctive would simply employ the auxiliary word should.

Synonyms

  • (for fear that): before (informal)

See also

Translations

Anagrams

References

  1. lest” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary (2001).

Czech

Pronunciation

Noun

lest f

  1. trick, ruse
  2. stratagem

Declension

Derived terms


Dutch

Pronunciation

Verb

lest

  1. second- and third-person singular present indicative of lessen
  2. (archaic) plural imperative of lessen

French

Etymology

Borrowing from Dutch last (load, burden).

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /lɛst/

Noun

lest m (plural lests)

  1. dead weight; ballast

Derived terms

Anagrams


German

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /leːst/

Verb

lest

  1. second-person plural present indicative of lesen
  2. second-person plural imperative of lesen

Icelandic

Pronunciation

  • IPA(key): /ˈlɛst/
    Rhymes: -ɛst

Noun

lest f

  1. train (line of connected cars or carriages)

Declension


Norwegian Bokmål

Verb

lest

  1. past participle of lese