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, 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:

  • 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… …   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

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