An example of lest is when you bring an umbrella in order to avoid getting wet.
- for fear that; in case; so that . . . not: speak low lest you be overheard
- Archaic that: used only after a word or words expressing fear: afraid lest he should fail us
Origin of lestMiddle English leste from Old English the læste from thy læs the, literally , by the less that from thy, instrumental of thæt, pronoun + læs (see less) + the, particle
- For fear that: tiptoed lest the guard should hear her; anxious lest he become ill.
- So that someone or something not; in case someone or something might: “Lest anyone forget, adolescence is purgatory” ( Jon Pareles )
Origin of lestMiddle English from Old English (thé) lǣs the (whereby) less that, so that not lǣs less ; see less . the relative conjunction ; see to- in Indo-European roots.
- For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not; in case.
- He won't go outside, lest he be eaten by those ravenous eagles.
- That (without the negative particle); - after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension.
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.
c.1200, contracted from Middle English phrase les te "less that," from Old English phrase Ã¾y lÃ¦s Ã¾e "whereby less that," from Ã¾y, instrumental case of demonstrative article Ã¾Ã¦t "that" + lÃ¦s (see less) + Ã¾e "the." The Ã¾y was dropped and the remaining two words contracted into leste. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=lest)