[ adverb rath -er, rah-th er; interjection rath -ur, rah-th ur ]
/ adverb ˈræð ər, ˈrɑ ðər; interjection ˈræðˈɜr, ˈrɑˈðɜr /
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!
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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
before 900; Middle English; Old English hrathor, comparative of hræth quick, rathe
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for would rather
/ (ˈrɑːðə) /
adverb (in senses 1-4, not used with a negative)
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
sentence substitute (ˈrɑːˈðɜː)
an expression of strong affirmation, often in answer to a questionIs it worth seeing? Rather!
Word Origin for rather
Old English hrathor comparative of hræth ready, quick; related to Old Norse hrathr
Both would and had are used with rather in sentences such as I would rather (or had rather) go to the film than to the play. Had rather is less common and is now widely regarded as slightly old-fashioned
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Idioms and Phrases with would rather (1 of 2)
Prefer to, as in We would rather eat dinner before the movie. [Mid-1500s]
Idioms and Phrases with would rather (2 of 2)
see had rather.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.