rath·​er | \ ˈra-t͟hər How to pronounce rather (audio) , ˈrä-, ˈrə- also ˈre-; interjectionally ˈra-ˈt͟hər, ˈrä-, ˈrə- \

Definition of rather

1 : with better reason or more propriety : more properly this you should pity rather than despise— William 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
the rather
archaic : the more quickly or readily

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Synonyms & Antonyms for rather



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Examples of rather in a Sentence

The movie is a comedy, but rather a dull one. I think the children watch rather too much television. It rather annoyed me that he was late picking me up.
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Recent Examples on the Web Many locals would rather glue their houses together than take buyouts, Ms. Verdin said, overhearing the conversation. Rachel Wolfe, WSJ, 12 Sep. 2021 Remember that Chubb would rather gargle with Drano than talk about himself. Terry Pluto, cleveland, 12 Sep. 2021 After a season that many fans would rather forget, the NFL returns to some semblance of normalcy this weekend with the start of the 2020-2021 season. Chris Morris, Fortune, 12 Sep. 2021 It’s not just about unlocking your phone, rather having a much faster - and secure - way to authenticate anything with your handset. Janhoi Mcgregor, Forbes, 11 Sep. 2021 As the World Trade Center stood burning, Orlowski’s instinct was not to run from the scene but rather to figure out how to cover the news happening just blocks away. Jeff Orlowski, Variety, 11 Sep. 2021 But the engineering challenges are understood and rather straightforward. Natural gas, coal and oil provided almost 80% of primary energy input to the U.S. economy in 2020, including electric power generation. Joshua D. Rhodes, The Conversation, 10 Sep. 2021 Britney Spears is keeping her sense of humor amid a rather painful experience. Nicholas Rice, PEOPLE.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Once ingested, isoflavones bind to proteins called receptors that recognize mammalian estrogen, but the interaction is rather weak. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 10 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rather.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of rather

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rather

Middle English, from Old English hrathor, comparative of hrathe quickly; akin to Old High German rado quickly, Old English hræd quick

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Time Traveler for rather

Time Traveler

The first known use of rather was before the 12th century

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Last Updated

14 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rather. Accessed 19 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for rather



English Language Learners Definition of rather

: to some degree or extent
used to introduce a statement that indicates what is true after you have said what is not true
used to introduce a statement that corrects what you have just said


rath·​er | \ ˈra-t͟hər How to pronounce rather (audio) \

Kids Definition of rather

1 : somewhat entry 2 It's a rather cold day.
2 : more willingly I would rather stay home.
3 : more correctly or truly It's just ten minutes away, or rather nine and a half.
4 : instead The meals were not better but rather worse.

More from Merriam-Webster on rather

Nglish: Translation of rather for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rather for Arabic Speakers


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