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lief

[leef] /lif/
adverb
1.
gladly; willingly:
I would as lief go south as not.
adjective, Archaic.
2.
willing; desirous.
3.
dear; beloved; treasured.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English leef, Old English lēof; cognate with Dutch lief, German lieb, Old Norse ljufr, Gothic liufs; akin to love
Related forms
liefly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for lief

lief

/liːf/
adverb
1.
(rare) gladly; willingly: I'd as lief go today as tomorrow
adjective
2.
(archaic)
  1. ready; glad
  2. dear; beloved
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for lief
adj.

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
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