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 intensivespent 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 He was not expected to disclose information about the investigations into Trump's circle, but rather to discuss only his removal, according to a person familiar with the proceeding who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss it. Lisa Mascaro, Anchorage Daily News, "Ousted federal prosecutor in New York tells panel that Barr ‘urged’ him to resign," 9 July 2020 For many modern Muslims, Bilal is the symbol of Islam’s egalitarian message, which in its ideal application recognizes no difference among humans on the basis of ethnicity or race but rather is more concerned with personal integrity. Asma Afsaruddin, The Conversation, "Islam’s anti-racist message from the 7th century still resonates today," 6 July 2020 Elliott clarified that his issue was not with his agent but rather the reporters who contacted the agent. Dallas News, "Ezekiel Elliott timeline: A look at all the off-the-field headlines the Cowboys RB has made during his career," 5 July 2020 Miami hasn't had just one hot day this year, but rather weeks and weeks of intense heat. Allison Chinchar And Haley Brink, CNN, "Miami broke its all-time heat record for June, but no warnings were issued. Here's why," 5 July 2020 Weber’s argument was not that Calvinism caused capitalism; rather, The Protestant Ethic was a speculative psycho-historical excavation of capitalism’s emergence. George Blaustein, The New Republic, "Searching for Consolation in Max Weber’s Work Ethic," 2 July 2020 Unlike Galaxy Buds+, Pixel Buds and even AirPods Pro, these don’t go fully into the ear canal, but rather sit right outside it. Jacob Krol, CNN Underscored, "Surface Earbuds deliver on comfort and sound, but the price leaves you wanting more," 2 July 2020 Hill-Cable said Twin Lakes in Eden Park isn't just for people who live close by to enjoy – but rather is for everyone. Cole Behrens, Cincinnati.com, "'The gates are reopen': Cincinnati Parks reopen Twin Lakes Overlook in Eden Park to vehicles," 14 June 2020 Trakas, who is the head of the Utilities and Sewers Committee, said that the basin would not impact current flooding problems, but would rather be helpful for future problems. Laura Bednar, cleveland, "Independence authorizes purchase of rental property with plan to improve safety and appearance," 6 June 2020

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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Statistics for rather

Last Updated

27 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rather. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for rather


How to pronounce rather (audio)

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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rather

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rather

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rather

Spanish Central: Translation of rather

Nglish: Translation of rather for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rather for Arabic Speakers

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