dear3 S2 W2 comparative dearer, superlative dearest
used before someone's name or title to begin a letter:
Dear Sir or Madam, ...
Dear Mrs. Wilson, ...
Dear Meg, ...
2 British English
expensive [≠ cheap]:
Cars are 59% dearer in Britain than in Europe.
a dear friend or relative is very important to you and you love them a lot:
Mark became a dear friend.
be dear to somebody
His sister was very dear to him.
to think that something is very important:
Household economy was something my mother held very dear.
5 British English spoken
used to describe someone or something in a way that shows your love or liking of them [= good old]:
Here we are, back in dear old Manchester!
if you run, fight, hold on etc for dear life, you do it as fast or as well as you can because you are afraid:
She grasped the side of the boat and hung on for dear life.
7 British English literary
a person you love who has died