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2 definitions found
 for Had rather
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  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.).
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              Him had been lever to be syke.
              [To him it had been preferable to be sick.]
                                                    --Fabian.
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              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.
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                 You were best hang yourself.       --Beau. & Fl.
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                 Me rather had my heart might feel your love
                 Than my unpleased eye see your courtesy. --Shak.
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                 I hadde levere than my scherte,
                 That ye hadde rad his legende, as have I.
                                                    --Chaucer.
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                 I had as lief not be as live to be
                 In awe of such a thing as I myself. --Shak.
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                 I had rather be a dog and bay the moon,
                 Than such a Roman.                 --Shak.
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                 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]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Rather \Rath"er\ (r[a^][th]"[~e]r; 277), adv. [AS. hra[eth]or,
     compar. of hra[eth]e, hr[ae][eth]e, quickly, immediately. See
     Rath, a.]
     [1913 Webster]
     1. Earlier; sooner; before. [Obs.]
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              Thou shalt, quod he, be rather false than I.
                                                    --Chaucer.
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              A good mean to come the rather to grace. --Foxe.
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     2. More readily or willingly; preferably.
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              My soul chooseth . . . death rather than my life.
                                                    --Job vii. 15.
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     3. On the other hand; to the contrary of what was said or
        suggested; instead.
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              Was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. --Mark
                                                    v. 26.
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     4. Of two alternatives conceived of, this by preference to,
        or as more likely than, the other; somewhat.
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              He sought throughout the world, but sought in vain,
              And nowhere finding, rather feared her slain.
                                                    --Dryden.
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     5. More properly; more correctly speaking.
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              This is an art
              Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
              The art itself is nature.             --Shak.
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     6. In some degree; somewhat; as, the day is rather warm; the
        house is rather damp.
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     The rather, the more so; especially; for better reason; for
        particular cause.
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              You are come to me in happy time,
              The rather for I have some sport in hand. --Shak.
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     Had rather, or Would rather, prefer to; prefers to; as,
        he had rather, or would rather go than stay. "I had rather
        speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand
        words in an unknown tongue." --1 Cor. xiv. 19. See Had
        rather, under Had.
        [1913 Webster]

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