rather

adverb
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

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

However, current season 17 judge Katy Perry made a rather incriminating comment about the show's history during the series finale, and fans are not having it. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "'American Idol' Fans Are Accusing Katy Perry of 'Throwing Shade' at Carrie Underwood," 20 May 2019 Kilograms are no longer measured by physical standards like Le Grande K, but rather by what's known as the Planck constant. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Why the World's Measuring Systems Just Changed—and What It Means," 20 May 2019 James Broughel of George Mason University’s Mercatus Center has the story: Something rather remarkable just happened in Idaho. James Freeman, WSJ, "The Great Idaho Do-Over," 16 May 2019 Rumors of their split have come at a rather difficult time for the couple, who are parents to seven children. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Steve Harvey's Wife Marjorie Speaks the Truth About What’s Going on in Their Marriage," 16 May 2019 This doesn’t, however, expose the failure of gun control altogether, but rather the limits of leaving gun policies to a patchwork of local and state laws. German Lopez, Vox, "I’ve covered gun violence for years. The solutions aren’t a big mystery.," 14 Feb. 2019 The guys at Imgur seems to clean it up rather quickly. Eric Johnson, Recode, "How Imgur avoids the ugliness of social media," 26 Dec. 2018 Instead of sticking to the same look she's worn for a while, Portman decided to shed major inches and debuted a rather dramatic look. Maya Allen, Marie Claire, "Natalie Portman's Hair Is Super Short Now and Looks Amazing in a Bob," 30 Apr. 2019 That has made some recent Windows 10 updates, including the upcoming May 2019 Update, rather unexciting. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Microsoft adds phone notification support, dictation languages to new Windows 10 Insider build," 26 Apr. 2019

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

23 May 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 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

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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