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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
lief
O.E. leof "dear," from P.Gmc. *leubo- (cf. O.N. ljutr, O.Fris. liaf, O.H.G. liob, Ger. lieb, Goth. liufs "dear, beloved"), from PIE base *leubh- "love" (see love). A most useful word, now, alas, all but extinct. Want and love are overworked and misused to fill the hole left in the language when this word faded in 17c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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