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What is the meaning and usage of 'Lest' in the following sentences:

Hold fast lest you should fall.

Lest anyone should think it strange,let me know what it is.

Lest anyone should think it's strange, let me assure you that it is quite true.

I looked up the meaning and usage of 'Lest' in http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/lest but I didn't understand it. Please make its meaning and usage it clear to me

Source: I found them In a book named 'Lovely English conversation practic' Written by chudamani Gautam

  • The dictionary definition is a bit convoluted. In your examples, you can replace lest with in case. – Mick Oct 15 '16 at 2:01
  • Your second example doesn't make sense; you should replace "it" with a specific word or concept. – user3169 Oct 15 '16 at 2:54
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    Lest is all but obsolete in contemporary English except in writing, and even there it is seldom used except self-consciously or to seem quaint. – P. E. Dant Oct 15 '16 at 4:00
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The definitions of lest:

  1. so as to prevent any possibility that ⇒ he fled the country lest he be captured and imprisoned
  2. (after verbs or phrases expressing fear, worry, anxiety, etc) for fear that; in case ⇒ he was alarmed lest she should find out

So doing some substitutions:

Hold fast to prevent any possibility that you should fall. (If you hold fast you shouldn't fall.)

To prevent any possibility that anyone should think it's strange, let me assure you that it is quite true. (My assurance that it is true should make it impossible for you to think it is strange.)

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