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English citations of lief

1896 1922 2006
ME « 15th c. 16th c. 17th c. 18th c. 19th c. 20th c. 21st c.
  • (English adverb)
  • 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales, The Monk's Tale, lines 388-390
    • Nevertheless, when wedded, 'twould appear
      They lived in joy and all felicity,
      For each of them held other lief and dear.
  • 1865 May, Three Days at Camp Douglass, in Our Young Folks: An Illustrated Magazine for Boys and Girls, volume I, number V, page 296:
    I myself had 'bout as lief be outside of [the prison] as inside [...]
  • 1866, The Atlantic Monthly, November, 1866, Vol. XVIII, "The Progress of Prussia":
    So intense is French hatred of Prussia, that it is not too much to say that, last summer, the French would almost as lief have seen the Russians in Paris as the Prussians in Vienna.
  • 1922, A. E. Housman, Illic Jacet, lines 10-12
    • ... lights and companions depart;
      But lief will he lose them and only
      Behold the desire of his heart.
  • 1969, Fairport Convention, Leige & Lief, Title of musical album.
  • 2006, Patrick McCabe, Winterwood, Bloomsbury 2007, p. 17:
    • —Cunt, he said. Cunt and hoor: I'd as lief have cut his throat.
      He would as lief have chewed his own arm off as gone to the party.