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4 definitions found

From: DICT.TW English-Chinese Dictionary 英漢字典

 had rather

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Lief, adv. Gladly; willingly; freely; -- now used only in the phrases, had as lief, and would as lief; as, I had, or would, as lief go as not.
 All women liefest would
 Be sovereign of man's love.   --Gower.
    I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines.   --Shak.
    Far liefer by his dear hand had I die.   --Tennyson.
 Note:The comparative liefer with had or would, and followed by the infinitive, either with or without the sign to, signifies prefer, choose as preferable, would or had rather. In the 16th century rather was substituted for liefer in such constructions in literary English, and has continued to be generally so used. See Had as lief, Had rather, etc. , under Had.

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Rath·er adv.
 1. Earlier; sooner; before. [Obs.]
    Thou shalt, quod he, be rather false than I.   --Chaucer.
    A good mean to come the rather to grace.   --Foxe.
 2. More readily or willingly; preferably.
    My soul chooseth . . . death rather than my life.   --Job vii. 15.
 3. On the other hand; to the contrary of what was said or suggested; instead.
    Was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse.   --Mark v. 26.
 4. Of two alternatives conceived of, this by preference to, or as more likely than, the other; somewhat.
 He sought throughout the world, but sought in vain,
 And nowhere finding, rather feared her slain.   --Dryden.
 5. More properly; more correctly speaking.
 This is an art
 Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
 The art itself is nature.   --Shak.
 6. In some degree; somewhat; as, the day is rather warm; the house is rather damp.
 The rather, the more so; especially; for better reason; for particular cause.
 You are come to me in happy time,
 The rather for I have some sport in hand.   --Shak.
 -- Had rather, or Would rather, prefer to; prefers to; as, he had rather, or would rather go than stay. “I had rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” --1 Cor. xiv. 19. See Had rather, under Had.

From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Had imp. & p. p. of Have.  See Have.
 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, under Better.
 And lever me is be pore and trewe.
 [And more agreeable to me it is to be poor and true.]   --C. Mundi (Trans.).
 Him had been lever to be syke.
 [To him it had been preferable to be sick.]   --Fabian.
 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.   --Chaucer.
 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.   --Chaucer.
 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.   --Ps. lxxxiv. 10.