rather

adverb
rath·​er | \ ˈra-t͟hər , 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

Synonyms

fain, first, preferably, readily, soon, willingly

Antonyms

involuntarily, unwillingly

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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

For Jung, the product selection isn't about simply selecting the best, but rather, the most interesting. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Jung Lee's New York Store Is Filled With Unique Home Decor Finds," 1 Jan. 2019 From high atop bridges to the deepest of rivers, scooters have ended up in rather bizarre locations. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The weirdest places we found scooters in 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 As Camila Mendes has confirmed, something — or rather, someone — is going to come between Veronica and Archie. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "The Best "Riverdale" Season 3 Fan Theories, According to Reddit," 1 Oct. 2018 In fact, a fair amount would rather do away with the relationship drama and rally behind something different: independence. Kathryn Lindsay, refinery29.com, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 Unfortunately, the average American is exceeding both of those numbers rather substantially. Karen Ansel, Woman's Day, "This Is What Your Daily Sodium Intake Should Really Be," 14 Dec. 2018 Hailstones said the area, Laie Beach Park, also known as Pounders Beach, where the man was attacked tends to be rather empty, but that luckily it was crowded on Saturday. Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, "Shark attacks 23-year-old surfer at Hawaii beach," 9 Sep. 2018 As others have pointed out, Melania's words regarding family separation were rather empty. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Melania Trump's Statement About LeBron James Is a Lot Emptier Than People Realize," 5 Aug. 2018 Something strange is happening at Seattle Art Museum — or, rather, not happening. David Gutman, The Seattle Times, "Multimillion-dollar art collection, once promised to SAM, now up for auction at Christie’s," 14 Nov. 2018

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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Learn More about rather

Dictionary Entries near rather

rath

rat hare

rathe

rather

ratheripe

ratherish

ratherly

Statistics for rather

Last Updated

31 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rather

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

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More Definitions for rather

rather

adverb

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

rather

adverb
rath·​er | \ ˈra-t͟hər \

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rather

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rather

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rather

Spanish Central: Translation of rather

Nglish: Translation of rather for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rather for Arabic Speakers

Comments on rather

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