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
archaic : the more quickly or readily
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.
Origin and Etymology of rather
Middle English, from Old English hrathor, comparative of hrathe quickly; akin to Old High German rado quickly, Old English hræd quick
First Known Use: before 12th centurySee Words from the same year
RATHER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of rather for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up rather? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).