Better half
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. [1913 Webster]

{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]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Better half — Half Half (h[aum]f), n.; pl. {Halves} (h[aum]vz). [AS. healf. See {Half}, a.] 1. Part; side; behalf. [Obs.] Wyclif. [1913 Webster] The four halves of the house. Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. One of two equal parts into which anything may be divided …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • better half — (plural ,better halves) noun someone s better half HUMOROUS someone s husband, wife, or partner: I ll have to ask my better half …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • better half — Your better half is your husband or wife …   The small dictionary of idiomes

  • better half — ► NOUN informal ▪ a person s spouse or partner …   English terms dictionary

  • better half — n. one s spouse; esp., one s wife: a humorous usage …   English World dictionary

  • better half — UK / US noun Word forms better half : singular better half plural better halves someone s better half …   English dictionary

  • better half — noun a person s partner in marriage • Syn: ↑spouse, ↑partner, ↑married person, ↑mate • Derivationally related forms: ↑mate (for: ↑mate), ↑spousal …   Useful english dictionary

  • better half — noun a) A persons spouse or lover, most commonly a mans wife. Generally a compliment or sign of respect. Id like you to meet my better half Linda. b) A persons close friend or companion …   Wiktionary

  • better half — n. one’s wife, and occasionally, one’s husband. □ My better half disapproved of the movie. □ I gotta go home to my better half …   Dictionary of American slang and colloquial expressions

  • better half — {n.}, {informal} One s marriage partner (mostly said by men about their wives.) * / This is my better half, Mary, said Joe./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

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