- in a measure; to a certain extent; somewhat: rather good.
- in some degree: I rather thought you would regret it.
- more properly or justly; with better reason: The contrary is rather to be supposed.
- sooner; more readily or willingly: to die rather than yield.
- more properly or correctly speaking; more truly: He is a painter or, rather, a watercolorist.
- on the contrary: It's not generosity, rather self-interest.
- rather than, instead of: Tutoring is provided by older students rather than teachers. Rather than complain, you should try to make changes.
- Chiefly British. emphatically yes; assuredly; without doubt: Is the book worth reading?Rather!
- had/would rather, to prefer that or to: I had much rather we not stay. We would rather go for dinner after the show.Compare soon(def 8).
Origin of rather
- Archaic. growing, blooming, or ripening early in the year or season.
Origin of rathe
Related Words for ratherfairly, pretty, comparatively, quite, somewhat, slightly, relatively, considerably, very, well, noticeably, willingly, sooner, enough, reasonably, so-so, some, something, averagely, passably
Examples from the Web for rather
Contemporary Examples of rather
Fluoride first entered an American water supply through a rather inelegant technocratic scheme.
To put it rather uncharitably, the USPHS practiced a major dental experiment on a city full of unconsenting subjects.
Rather, it was the Democrats who initially were the Southern Party.Steve Scalise Shows There’s a Fine Line Between Confederate & Southern
January 2, 2015
Lady Rose is also rather subdued in the premiere, which is a pity.What Downton’s Fashion Really Means
January 2, 2015
Rather, all of the manufactured antibodies are all stirred up but have nowhere to go.When You Get the Flu This Winter, You Can Blame Anti-Vaxxers
January 1, 2015
Historical Examples of rather
Had you rather witness the sports of the gymnasia than the works of artists?
Rather gain one prize from the Choragus than ten from the Gymnasiarch.
"He said he was poor," urged Billy, who had been rather taken with the ease of Arledge's manner.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Mrs. Rushton was sitting at her work, in rather a disconsolate frame of mind.
He sat down, rather discontented, and resumed the current of his reflections.
- relatively or fairly; somewhatit's rather dull
- to a significant or noticeable extent; quiteshe's rather pretty
- to a limited extent or degreeI rather thought that was the case
- with better or more just causethis text is rather to be deleted than rewritten
- more readily or willingly; soonerI would rather not see you tomorrow
- on the contraryit's not cold. Rather, it's very hot indeed
- an expression of strong affirmation, often in answer to a questionIs it worth seeing? Rather!
Word Origin for rather
- blossoming or ripening early in the season
- eager or prompt
Word Origin for rathe
Old English hraþor "more quickly, earlier, sooner," also "more readily," comparative of hraþe, hræþe "quickly, hastily, promptly, readily, immediately," which is related to hræð "quick, nimble, prompt, ready," from Proto-Germanic *khratha- (cf. Old Norse hraðr, Old High German hrad), from PIE *kret- "to shake." The base form rathe was obsolete by 18c. except in poetry (Tennyson); superlative rathest fell from use by 17c. Meaning "more willingly" is recorded from c.1300; sense of "more truly" is attested from late 14c.
The rather lambes bene starved with cold
[Spenser, "The Shepheardes Calender" (Februarie), 1579]
see had rather.