Found 1 items, similar to Had better.
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Definition: Had better
(h[a^]d), imp. & p. p. of Have
. [OE. had, hafde,
hefde, AS. h[ae]fde.]
Had as lief
, Had rather
, Had better
, Had as soon
etc., with a nominative and followed by the infinitive
without to, are well established idiomatic forms. The
original construction was that of the dative with forms of
be, followed by the infinitive. See Had better
And lever me is be pore and trewe.
[And more agreeable to me it is to be poor and
true.] --C. Mundi
Him had been lever to be syke.
[To him it had been preferable to be sick.]
For him was lever have at his bed's head
Twenty bookes, clad in black or red, . . .
Than robes rich, or fithel, or gay sawtrie.
Note: Gradually the nominative was substituted for the
dative, and had for the forms of be. During the process
of transition, the nominative with was or were, and the
dative with had, are found.
Poor lady, she were better love a dream. --Shak.
You were best hang yourself. --Beau. & Fl.
Me rather had my heart might feel your love
Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy. --Shak.
I hadde levere than my scherte,
That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
I had as lief not be as live to be
In awe of such a thing as I myself. --Shak.
I had rather be a dog and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman. --Shak.
I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my
God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
, a.; compar. of Good. [OE. betere, bettre, and
as adv. bet, AS. betera, adj., and bet, adv.; akin to Icel.
betri, adj., betr, adv., Goth. batiza, adj., OHG. bezziro,
adj., baz, adv., G. besser, adj. and adv., bass, adv., E.
boot, and prob. to Skr. bhadra excellent. See Boot
advantage, and cf. Best
1. Having good qualities in a greater degree than another;
as, a better man; a better physician; a better house; a
Could make the worse appear
The better reason. --Milton.
2. Preferable in regard to rank, value, use, fitness,
acceptableness, safety, or in any other respect.
To obey is better than sacrifice. --1 Sam. xv.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put
confidence in princes. --Ps. cxviii.
3. Greater in amount; larger; more.
4. Improved in health; less affected with disease; as, the
patient is better.
5. More advanced; more perfect; as, upon better acquaintance;
a better knowledge of the subject.
All the better
. See under All
, an expression used to designate one's wife.
My dear, my better half (said he),
I find I must now leave thee. --Sir P.
To be better off
, to be in a better condition.
. (See under Had
Note: The phrase had better, followed by an infinitive
without to, is idiomatic. The earliest form of
construction was “were better”
with a dative; as,
“Him were better go beside.”
(--Gower.) i. e., It
would be better for him, etc. At length the nominative
(I, he, they, etc.) supplanted the dative and had took
the place of were. Thus we have the construction now
By all that's holy, he had better starve
Than but once think this place becomes thee not.