Don't You Dare

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Meaning of Idiom 'Don't You Dare'

Saying "don't you dare" is a way of telling someone not to do something, and if they do, you will be angry or annoyed at them. 1,2


The idiom is often used in a humorous, half-serious way but can be used seriously. The intention depends on the context, facial expressions, and body language of the person using the expression.


"Don't you dare track mud into this house," said mom.

"I think I'll eat your lunch, it looks tasty, said Rick. "Don't you dare touch my lunch," said Vicky, laughing.

"Don't you dare go to the press over this," said Mr. Perry. "Not if you want to keep your job!"


Used since at least the late 1800's. To dare means to have enough courage to do something; to be bold.

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. McIntosh, Colin. Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Cambridge University Press, 2013.

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