had rather

had rather (do something)

Would prefer to do something; would be more inclined or willing to do something. A less common variant of "would rather (do something)." I had rather not talk to you right now. I had rather go see a movie, to be honest, but we can go dancing if you like.
See also: rather
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

had rather

Also, had sooner. Would prefer. For example, I had rather you let me do the driving, or He'd sooner switch than fight. This idiom today is often replaced by would rather. [Late 1500s] Also see just as soon.
See also: rather
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in classic literature ?
He decided that he wasn't in real danger, that he had rather clinched his precautions.