• synonyms


  1. gladly; willingly: I would as lief go south as not.
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adjective Archaic.
  1. willing; desirous.
  2. dear; beloved; treasured.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for liefer

Historical Examples of liefer

  • If these be taken from me, I am poor indeed, and I'd liefer die than live in shame.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer

    Cyrus Townsend Brady

  • "I'd liefer haul out the pinnace," replied Alden with a grimace.

    Standish of Standish

    Jane G. Austin

  • Liefer I would die than live a life of shame, and therefore slay me!

  • I wonder you wouldn't have him liefer than go into one of them hospitals.

    Miss Mackenzie

    Anthony Trollope

  • He said he had liefer go; and the king said: "Then am I the more content."

British Dictionary definitions for liefer


  1. rare gladly; willinglyI'd as lief go today as tomorrow
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  1. archaic
    1. ready; glad
    2. dear; beloved
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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 liefer



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper