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 This display also doesn’t feature a fingerprint sensor, rather it is built into the power button. Jason Cipriani, CNN Underscored, "Here’s what you need to know about Samsung’s Note 20 and 20 Ultra, Galaxy Buds Live, Tab S7 and S7+, and Galaxy Watch 3," 5 Aug. 2020 Khanna said that the United States was not facing the challenge of too few people willing to work, but rather too few people with money to spend to support work. Washington Examiner, "Democratic logic: Why it’s better to pay people more not to work," 5 Aug. 2020 The 62-year-old would rather protect himself — diagnosed in 2017 with prostate cancer — and his players than risk an outbreak in exchange for a four-game series. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "How Detroit Tigers have avoided COVID-19 outbreak in clubhouse," 4 Aug. 2020 The new order does not represent a significant policy shift but rather escalates Trump's assault on the U.S.'s H-1B visa program for high-skilled foreign workers, the vast majority of whom are from India. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "A new executive order escalates Trump’s attack on H-1B visas for foreign workers," 4 Aug. 2020 The larvae of the beetle genus Epomis are rather more active in humiliating frogs. Matt Simon, Wired, "Frog Eats Beetle. Beetle Crawls Through Guts to Escape," 3 Aug. 2020 So far August weather has featured slightly below normal temperatures and rather comfortable humidity levels. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Increasing heat and humidity this week," 3 Aug. 2020 Despite the recent trend, there are multiple factors that may keep most vehicles looking rather plain. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Two-tone car paint makes a comeback, with Nissan, Hyundai among automakers reviving 50s-era styling for SUVs," 3 Aug. 2020 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

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

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rather. Accessed 8 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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