Most hateful, as dearest foe. The word dear, meaning
“beloved,” is the Saxon deor (dear, rare); but dear, “hateful,”
is the Anglo-Saxon derian (to hurt), Scotch dere (to
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven,
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio.
Shakespeare: Hamlet, i.2.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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