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2 definitions found
 for Had better
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Had \Had\ (h[a^]d), imp. & p. p. of Have. [OE. had, hafde,
     hefde, AS. h[ae]fde.]
     See Have.
     [1913 Webster]
  
     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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              And lever me is be pore and trewe.
              [And more agreeable to me it is to be poor and
              true.]                                --C. Mundi
                                                    (Trans.).
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Him had been lever to be syke.
              [To him it had been preferable to be sick.]
                                                    --Fabian.
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              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.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     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.
           [1913 Webster]
  
                 Poor lady, she were better love a dream. --Shak.
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                 You were best hang yourself.       --Beau. & Fl.
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                 Me rather had my heart might feel your love
                 Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy. --Shak.
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                 I hadde levere than my scherte,
                 That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
                                                    --Chaucer.
           [1913 Webster]
  
                 I had as lief not be as live to be
                 In awe of such a thing as I myself. --Shak.
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                 I had rather be a dog and bay the moon,
                 Than such a Roman.                 --Shak.
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                 I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my
                 God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.
                                                    --Ps. lxxxiv.
                                                    10.
           [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Better \Bet"ter\, 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, Batful.]
     1. Having good qualities in a greater degree than another;
        as, a better man; a better physician; a better house; a
        better air.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              Could make the worse appear
              The better reason.                    --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     2. Preferable in regard to rank, value, use, fitness,
        acceptableness, safety, or in any other respect.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              To obey is better than sacrifice.     --1 Sam. xv.
                                                    22.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              It is better to trust in the Lord than to put
              confidence in princes.                --Ps. cxviii.
                                                    9.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     3. Greater in amount; larger; more.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     4. Improved in health; less affected with disease; as, the
        patient is better.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     5. More advanced; more perfect; as, upon better acquaintance;
        a better knowledge of the subject.
        [1913 Webster]
  
     All the better. See under All, adv.
  
     Better half, an expression used to designate one's wife.
        [1913 Webster]
  
              My dear, my better half (said he),
              I find I must now leave thee.         --Sir P.
                                                    Sidney.
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     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.
           [1913 Webster]
  
                 By all that's holy, he had better starve
                 Than but once think this place becomes thee not.
                                                    --Shak.
           [1913 Webster]

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