rather

adverb

rath·​er ˈra-t͟hər How to pronounce rather (audio)
ˈrä-,
ˈrə-,
 also  ˈre-;
 interjectionally  ˈra-ˈt͟hər,
ˈrä-,
ˈrə-
1
: with better reason or more propriety : more properly
this you should pity rather than despiseWilliam 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 worseMark 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
Phrases
the rather
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.
Recent Examples on the Web As his star continued to rise Tucci played real-life gangster Frank Nitti in Road to Perdition (2002) and a rather rude antagonist in Steven Spielberg’s The Terminal (2004). Madeline Cisneros, EW.com, 19 May 2024 The prospective debates did come together rather quickly after Biden issued a taunting challenge and Trump immediately agreed to two face-to-face meetings. Mark Z. Barabak, Los Angeles Times, 19 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for rather 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rather.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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 the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near rather

Cite this Entry

“Rather.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rather. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

rather

adverb
rath·​er ˈrat͟h-ər How to pronounce rather (audio)
ˈrät͟h-,
ˈrət͟h-
1
: more willingly
would rather stay home
2
: more exactly : more properly
my father, or, rather, my stepfather
3
: instead
was no better but rather grew worse
4
: somewhat entry 2
rather cold today

More from Merriam-Webster on rather

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