Origin of rather
British Dictionary definitions for would rather
adverb (in senses 1-4, not used with a negative)
sentence substitute (ˈrɑːˈðɜː)
Word Origin for rather
Word Origin and History for would rather
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]
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.