What is for the better or worse? I remember hearing this a few times before but am not really 100% sure on the exact meaning of it.
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Usually this is said, "for better or (for) worse" (without the). This phrase is used to indicate that a fact you are mentioning is not necessarily a good thing or bad thing. Often it is used if you say something, and you do not want to imply that you think it is a good thing.
The idiom is "for better or worse" - is it this you mean? If so, it just expresses this:
This comes from an idiom "for the better/worse", which means "to produce improvement/decline".
If this is not what you are looking for, there is a phrase "for the better part", which means "for more than half but not all". This is used sometimes like: "for the better or worse part [of my life]", which would be "more than half my lifetime, but using better is somewhat misleading, as the time really was not good, but bad".
The usual way it's heard is "for better or for worse." To break it down:
"for better" means that something happened and the result is good. "He quit using drugs, for better."
"for worse" means something happened and the outcome is bad. "We re-elected our president, for worse."
Putting them together, it means the result can go either way. "The new legislation has passed, for better or worse." Meaning, it was probably a controversial law, we don't know what the outcome will be, but it has happened.
None of these answers so far mention the obvious, that it's an archaic construction from the Book of Common Prayer Marriage vows which include the commitment "...for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health,..." : all different ways of saying "come what may".
protected by tchrist Mar 1 '15 at 18:41
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