adverb Etymology: Middle English, from Old English hrathor, comparative of hrathe quickly; akin to Old High German rado quickly, Old English hræd quick Date: before 12th century 1. with better reason or more propriety ; more properly <
this you should pity rather than despise — Shakespeare
2. more readily or willingly ; preferably <
I'd rather not go
would rather read than watch television
— often used interjectionally to express affirmation 3. more correctly speaking <
my father, or rather my stepfather
4. to the contrary ; instead <
was no better but rather grew worse — Mark 5:26 (Revised Standard Version)
5. in some degree ; somewhat <
it's rather warm
— often used as a mild intensive <
spent rather a lot of money

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • rather — 1. Rather is common in BrE as a so called ‘downtoner’, i.e. an adverb that reduces the effect of the following adjective, adverb, or noun, as in It is rather expensive, You were driving rather fast, and He s rather a fool. With nouns, the… …   Modern English usage

  • Rather — Rath er (r[a^][th] [ e]r; 277), adv. [AS. hra[eth]or, compar. of hra[eth]e, hr[ae][eth]e, quickly, immediately. See {Rath}, a.] [1913 Webster] 1. Earlier; sooner; before. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Thou shalt, quod he, be rather false than I. Chaucer …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rather — [rath′ər, räth′ər; ] for interj. [ ra′thʉr′, rä′thʉr′] adv. [ME < OE hrathor, compar. of hrathe, hræthe, quickly: see RATHE] 1. Obs. more quickly; sooner 2. more willingly; preferably [would you rather have tea?] 3. with more justice, logic,… …   English World dictionary

  • Rather — is a family name. It is also an adverb in the English language.Rather may refer to:* Dan Rather, news presenter * Elizabeth Rather, expert in the computer programming language Forthsurname …   Wikipedia

  • rather — ► ADVERB 1) (would rather) indicating one s preference in a particular matter. 2) to a certain or significant extent or degree. 3) on the contrary. 4) more precisely. 5) instead of; as opposed to. ► EXCLAMATION Brit. dated …   English terms dictionary

  • Rather — ist der Name folgender Personen: Rather von Verona (um 887 974), Theologe und Bischof von Verona und Lüttich Dan Rather (* 1931), US amerikanischer Journalist Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • rather — [adv1] moderately a bit, a little, averagely, comparatively, enough, fairly, in a certain degree, kind of, more or less, passably, pretty, quite, ratherish, reasonably, relatively, slightly, some, something, somewhat, sort of, so so*, tolerably,… …   New thesaurus

  • Rather — Rath er (r[a^][th] [ e]r), a. [Compar. of {Rath}, a.] Prior; earlier; former. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Now no man dwelleth at the rather town. Sir J. Mandeville. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rather — O.E. hraþor more quickly, earlier, sooner, also more readily, comparative of hraþe, hræþe quickly, related to hræð quick, from P.Gmc. *khrathuz (Cf. O.N. hraðr, O.H.G. hrad). The base form rathe was obsolete by 18c. except in poetry; superlative… …   Etymology dictionary

  • rather — [[t]rɑ͟ːðə(r), ræ̱ð [/t]] ♦ 1) PHR PREP You use rather than when you are contrasting two things or situations. Rather than introduces the thing or situation that is not true or that you do not want. The problem was psychological rather than… …   English dictionary

  • rather — predeterminer, adverb 1 (+ adj/adv) quite; fairly: I was rather surprised to see him with his ex wife. | He was limping rather badly as he walked off the field. | It s not too big for you at all. I rather like the way it fits you. | rather a big… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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