Definition of rather in English:

rather

Line breaks: ra¦ther
Pronunciation: /ˈrɑːðə
 
/

adverb

1 (would rather) Used to indicate one’s preference in a particular matter: would you like some wine or would you rather stick to sherry? she’d rather die than cause a scene [with clause]: I’d rather you didn’t tell him
More example sentences
  • At home, it is true that he has usually been a risk-averse leader who would rather finesse a tough choice than make it.
  • When asked if he would rather be a tourist or on tour, he said a tourist.
  • There's a side of the art world I would rather not get involved with.
Synonyms
by preference, sooner, preferably, from/by choice, more willingly, more readily; North Americanif I had my druthers
2 [as submodifier] To a certain or significant extent or degree: she’s been behaving rather strangely he’s rather an unpleasant man
More example sentences
  • Some of the monkeys were friendly, but others were behaving rather oddly.
  • Alex, who is rather arrogant and unpleasant, begins to receive strange text messages.
  • It was, rather strangely, his extensive knowledge of astrology that led to his first appointment.
Synonyms
2.1Used before verbs so as to make the expression of a feeling or opinion less assertive: I rather think he wants me to marry him we were rather hoping you might do that for us
More example sentences
  • She had rather expected me to be on my way to being Prime Minister as she had been told so by a fortune-teller on holiday.
  • I rather enjoy the storylines of the supporting characters, partly because the writers tend to wind them up before they get too tedious.
  • I rather hope when quizzed about America she will deliver one of her famous soundbites.
3Used to suggest that the opposite of a previous statement is the case; on the contrary: [sentence adverb]: There is no shortage of basic skills in the workplace. Rather, the problem is poor management
More example sentences
  • It prefers rather to say that it offers discounts to married couples.
  • This is not a simple party concern but rather a matter of urgent national interest.
  • Andrea wasn't the sort to nag, rather such a quiet, forbearing type that people would hold her up as an example.
3.1More precisely: I walked, or rather limped, the two miles home
More example sentences
  • Modernisation is by no means overdone, or rather, when it is overdone, it is brazenly clever.
  • The technology, or rather the people behind it, are getting smarter.
  • I just don't feel comfortable speaking, or rather trying to speak French.
Synonyms
more precisely, to be precise, to be exact, strictly speaking, correctly speaking
3.2Instead of; as opposed to: she seemed indifferent rather than angry
More example sentences
  • So do they list a number for you to call instead, rather than waiting for them to call you back?
  • Anyone with an ounce of compassion can see he is to be pitied rather than pilloried.
  • Instead, stick to key points and summaries, rather than big chunks of text.
Synonyms

exclamation

Pronunciation: /rɑːˈðəː
 
/
British dated Back to top  
Used to express emphatic affirmation, agreement, or acceptance: ‘You are glad to be home, aren’t you?’ ‘Rather!’
More example sentences
  • ‘We were at school together, weren't we Johnnie?’ ‘Yes, rather,’ said Johnnie.
  • ‘I agree, but I can't help thinking that demolishing the barracks is an added risk to the whole endeavor.’ ‘Rather,’ concurred Gavin.

Origin

Old English hrathor 'earlier, sooner', comparative of hræthe 'without delay', from hræth 'prompt' (see rathe).

Phrases

had rather

literary or archaic Would rather: I had rather not see him
More example sentences
  • The studios had rather employ a screenwriter with eight disasters to his credit than a William Faulkner with none.
  • Make him or her feel that he is the most interesting person in the world and there is no other place you had rather be at the moment and you are sure to be a hit.
  • Normally she would not read such things to Scott but since it was front-page news, she had rather Scott hear it from her than some warped rumors off the street.

rather you (or him or her etc.) than me

Used to convey that one would be reluctant oneself to undertake a particular task undertaken by someone else: ‘I’m picking him up after lunch.’ ‘Rather you than me.’
More example sentences
  • That's a monumental task you've set yourself, rather you than me.
  • The explosion scenes are amazing and it was great to watch the stunt man doing all the action shots - rather him than me.
  • Quite a daunting prospect ahead; rather him than me.

Definition of rather in:

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Word of the day hubris
Pronunciation: ˈhjuːbrɪs
noun
excessive pride or self-confidence