\ˈlest \

Definition of lest 

: for fear that often used after an expression denoting fear or apprehension worried lest she should be latehesitant to speak out lest he be fired

First Known Use of lest

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lest

Middle English les the, leste, from Old English thȳ lǣs the, from thȳ (instrumental of thæt that) + lǣs + the, relative particle

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lest

Phrases Related to lest

lest we forget

Statistics for lest

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lest

The first known use of lest was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lest

English Language Learners Definition of lest

: for fear that

—used when you are saying something in order to prevent something from happening

\ˈlest \

Kids Definition of lest

: for fear that “I have to be sharp and clever, lest I go hungry.”— E. B. White, Charlotte's Web

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on lest

What made you want to look up lest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!