rather

adverb rath·er \ ˈra-t͟hər , 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

Examples of rather in a Sentence

  1. The movie is a comedy, but rather a dull one.

  2. I think the children watch rather too much television.

  3. It rather annoyed me that he was late picking me up.

Recent Examples of rather from the Web

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.

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



RATHER Defined for English Language Learners

rather

adverb

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

rather

adverb rath·er \ ˈra-t͟hər \

Definition of rather for Students

1 :2somewhat
  • 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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