Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of rather
Meaning of rather by Wiktionary Dictionary



    From Middle English rather, rether, from Old English hraþor ( “sooner, earlier, more quickly” ), comparative of hraþe ( “hastily, quickly, promptly, readily, immediately, soon, at once, directly” ), equivalent to rathe +‎ -er. More at rathe .


    • ( UK ) enPR: räth'ə( r ), IPA: /ˈɹɑːðə/, X-SAMPA: /"r\A:D@( r )/
      Rhymes: -ɑːðə( r )
    • ( US ) enPR: răth'ər, IPA: /ˈɹæðɚ/, /ˈɹɑðɚ/, X-SAMPA: /"r\{D@`/
    • Rhymes: -æðə( r )
    • Hyphenation: rath‧er


    rather ( not comparable )

    1. ( obsolete ) More quickly; sooner, earlier. [9th-19th c.]
    2. Used to specify a choice or preference; preferably. [from 9th c.]
      I'd rather stay in all day than go out with them .
      I'd like this one rather than the other one .
      I'd rather be with you .
    3. ( conjunctive ) Used to introduce a contradiction; on the contrary. [from 14th c.]
      It wasn't supposed to be popular; rather, it was supposed to get the job done .
      She didn't go along, but rather went home instead .
    4. ( conjunctive ) Introducing a qualification or clarification; more precisely. ( Now usually preceded by or. ) [from 15th c.]
      I didn't want to leave. Or rather I did, just not alone .
    5. ( degree ) Somewhat, fairly. [from 16th c.]
      This melon is rather tasteless .
      This melon is rather tasteless, especially compared to the one we had last time .

    Usage notes




    rather ( third-person singular simple present rathers present participle rathering, simple past and past participle rathered )

    1. ( nonstandard or dialectal ) To prefer; to prefer to.


Explanation of rather by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. to some ( great or small ) extent

    2. it was rather cold
      the party was rather nice
      the knife is rather dull
      I rather regret that I cannot attend
      He's rather good at playing the cello
    3. to a degree ( not used with a negative )

    4. on the contrary

    5. rather than disappoint the children, he did two quick tricks before he left
      he didn't call; rather ( or instead ), he wrote her a letter
    6. more readily or willingly

    7. I'd rather be in Philadelphia