Meaning of lief in English:


Pronunciation /liːf/


archaic as lief
  • As happily; as gladly.

    ‘he would just as lief eat a pincushion’
    • ‘‘I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician,’ said bibulous Sir Andrew Ague-cheek.’
    • ‘Here is W. S. Gilbert's spoof line, ‘I would as lief be thrust through a thicket hedge as cry Pooh to a callow throstle’.’
    • ‘As for the first, I would as lief pray with him as with any man.’
    • ‘I figgered, an’ we had the stuff, we'd jist as lief knock together somethin’ tha’ didn’ take an expert t’ aim.’
    • ‘Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.’
    with pleasure, happily, cheerfully


Old English lēof ‘dear, pleasant’, of Germanic origin: related to leave and love.