Lief (?), n.

Same as Lif.

 

© Webster 1913.


Lief (?), a. [Written also lieve.] [OE. leef, lef, leof, AS. leof; akin to OS.liof, OFries. liaf, D. lief, G. lieb, OHG. liob, Icel. ljfr, Sw.ljuf, Goth. liubs, and E. love. &root;124. See Love, and cf. Believe, Leave, n., Furlough, Libidinous.]

1.

Dear; beloved. [Obs., except in poetry.] "My liefe mother." Chaucer. "My liefest liege." Shak.

As thou art lief and dear. Tennyson.

2. (Used with a form of the verb to be, and the dative of the personal pronoun.)

Pleasing; agreeable; acceptable; preferable. [Obs.] See Lief, adv., and Had as lief, under Had.

Full lief me were this counsel for to hide. Chaucer.

Death me liefer were than such despite. Spenser.

3.

Willing; disposed.

[Obs.]

I am not lief to gab. Chaucer.

He up arose, however lief or loth. Spenser.

 

© Webster 1913.


Lief, n.

A dear one; a sweetheart.

[Obs.]

Chaucer.

 

© Webster 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.

⇒ 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.

 

© Webster 1913.

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