To be better off
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.

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