Lest meaning

lĕst
For fear that; in case; so that . . . not.

Speak low lest you be overheard.

conjunction
11
5
(archaic) That.

Afraid lest he should fail us.

conjunction
8
3
For fear that.

Tiptoed lest the guard should hear her; anxious lest he become ill.

conjunction
7
3
So that someone or something not; in case someone or something might.
conjunction
7
4
Lest is defined as something done in order to avoid an undesirable consequence.

An example of lest is when you bring an umbrella in order to avoid getting wet.

conjunction
0
0
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For fear that; that . . . not; in order that . . . not; in case.

He won't go outside, lest he be eaten by those ravenous eagles.

conjunction
0
0
That (without the negative particle); - after certain expressions denoting fear or apprehension.
conjunction
0
0

Origin of lest

  • Middle English from Old English (thȳ) lǣs the (whereby) less that, so that not lǣs less less the relative conjunction to- in Indo-European roots

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • c.1200, contracted from Middle English phrase les te "less that," from Old English phrase þy læs þe "whereby less that," from þy, instrumental case of demonstrative article þæt "that" + læs (see less) + þe "the." The þy was dropped and the remaining two words contracted into leste. (http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=lest)

    From Wiktionary