English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm reading a Aesop's fable, The Kingdom of the Lion. I cannot understand the last sentence in the fable:

And after the Hare said this, he ran for his life.

What's the meaning of the phrase "ran for"?

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Run for" is not the applicable phrase. The parsing is [run] [for his life], that is, the Hare ran as if his life depended on it.

share|improve this answer
While "run as if to save one's life" is a common meaning of the phrase, in the instance the OP's asking about it seems to mean "run to save one's life", as the other answer suggests. – msh210 Feb 6 '12 at 21:04

It means that the Hare ran to save his life (apparently his life was in danger).

share|improve this answer
Do you mean that the Hare just ran away to avoid to be eaten? – Yantao Xie Feb 6 '12 at 6:22
@CookSchelling: That's exactly the meaning. – Irene Feb 6 '12 at 6:27
Think of it as "the hare ran [for the sake of] his life." – Blrfl Feb 6 '12 at 11:37

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.