[ leef ]
/ lif /


gladly; willingly: I would as lief go south as not.

adjective Archaic.

willing; desirous.
dear; beloved; treasured.

Nearby words

  1. liechtenstein,
  2. liechtensteiner,
  3. lied,
  4. lieder,
  5. liederkranz,
  6. liefly,
  7. liege,
  8. liegeman,
  9. liegnitz,
  10. lien

Origin of lief

before 900; Middle English leef, Old English lēof; cognate with Dutch lief, German lieb, Old Norse ljufr, Gothic liufs; akin to love

Related formslief·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lief

British Dictionary definitions for lief


/ (liːf) /


rare gladly; willinglyI'd as lief go today as tomorrow


  1. ready; glad
  2. dear; beloved

Word Origin for lief

Old English leof; related to lufu love

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lief



Old English leof "dear, valued, beloved, pleasant;" also as a noun, "a beloved person, friend," from Proto-Germanic *leubo- (cf. Old Norse ljutr, Old Frisian liaf, Dutch lief, Old High German liob, German lieb, Gothic liufs "dear, beloved"), from PIE root *leubh- "love" (see love (n.)). As an adverb, "dearly, willingly" from c.1250. I want and I'd love to are overworked and misused to fill the hole left in the language when I would lief faded in 17c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper