all the better
1. Wholly; completely; altogether; entirely; quite; very; as, all bedewed; my friend is all for amusement. “And cheeks all pale.”
Note: ☞ In the ancient phrases, all too dear, all too much, all so long, etc., this word retains its appropriate sense or becomes intensive.
2. Even; just. (Often a mere intensive adjunct.) [Obs. or Poet.]
All as his straying flock he fed. --Spenser.
A damsel lay deploring
All on a rock reclined. --Gay.
All to, or All-to. In such phrases as “all to rent,” “all to break,” “all-to frozen,” etc., which are of frequent occurrence in our old authors, the all and the to have commonly been regarded as forming a compound adverb, equivalent in meaning to entirely, completely, altogether. But the sense of entireness lies wholly in the word all (as it does in “all forlorn,” and similar expressions), and the to properly belongs to the following word, being a kind of intensive prefix (orig. meaning asunder and answering to the LG. ter-, HG. zer-). It is frequently to be met with in old books, used without the all. Thus Wyclif says, “The vail of the temple was to rent:” and of Judas, “He was hanged and to-burst the middle:” i. e., burst in two, or asunder.
All along. See under Along.
All and some, individually and collectively, one and all. [Obs.] “Displeased all and some.” --Fairfax.
All but. (a) Scarcely; not even. [Obs.] --Shak. (b) Almost; nearly. “The fine arts were all but proscribed.” --Macaulay.
All hollow, entirely, completely; as, to beat any one all hollow. [Low]
All one, the same thing in effect; that is, wholly the same thing.
All over, over the whole extent; thoroughly; wholly; as, she is her mother all over. [Colloq.]
All the better, wholly the better; that is, better by the whole difference.
All the same, nevertheless. “There they [certain phenomena] remain rooted all the same, whether we recognize them or not.” --J. C. Shairp. “But Rugby is a very nice place all the same.” --T. Arnold. -- See also under All, n.
Bet·ter a.; compar. of Good.
1. Having good qualities in a greater degree than another; as, a better man; a better physician; a better house; a better air.
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. 22.
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. --Ps. cxviii. 9.
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, adv.
Better half, an expression used to designate one's wife.
My dear, my better half (said he),
I find I must now leave thee. --Sir P. Sidney.
To be better off, to be in a better condition.
Had better. (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 used.
By all that's holy, he had better starve
Than but once think this place becomes thee not. --Shak.