Had better
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. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

You were best hang yourself. --Beau. & Fl. [1913 Webster]

Me rather had my heart might feel your love Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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. [1913 Webster]

I had rather be a dog and bay the moon, Than such a Roman. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

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]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Had better — 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,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • had\ better — • had better • had best informal Should; must. I had better leave now, or I ll be late. If you want to stay out of trouble, you had best not make any mistakes. Jim decided he had better do his homework instead of playing ball …   Словарь американских идиом

  • had better — ► had better would find it wiser to. Main Entry: ↑better …   English terms dictionary

  • had better — phrasal or had best 1. : would be wise to used with the infinitive without to had better try slow walks to start building up his strength 2. : should for one s own welfare had better pay what the court tells him to * * * …   Useful english dictionary

  • had better —     When the London summit meets, foreign ministers better stiffen their sinews (Guardian). In conditional sentences, the required expression is had better. The error, more common in America than in Britain, is seen again in this advertisement in …   Dictionary of troublesome word

  • had better — or[had best] {informal} Should; must. * /I had better leave now, or I ll be late./ * /If you want to stay out of trouble, you had best not make any mistakes. / * /Jim decided he had better do his homework instead of playing ball./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • had better — or[had best] {informal} Should; must. * /I had better leave now, or I ll be late./ * /If you want to stay out of trouble, you had best not make any mistakes. / * /Jim decided he had better do his homework instead of playing ball./ …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • had better — should or must. I thought I had better destroy the list so that no one else would see it. You d better get moving if you want to catch your train. Usage notes: had is sometimes not said: If we have a problem you better hope somebody is there to… …   New idioms dictionary

  • had better — should, ought to    I d better call and explain why we didn t attend the reception …   English idioms

  • had better — should do something I d better go now or I ll be late for class …   Idioms and examples

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”