W1S1 [ˈra:ðə US ˈræðər] predeterminer, adv
[: Old English; Origin: hrathor 'more quickly']
1.) fairly or to some degree
I was rather surprised to see him with his ex-wife.
He was limping rather badly.
My own position is rather different .
Abigail's always been rather a difficult child. BrE
Isn't it rather late (=a little too late) to start changing all the arrangements?
Actually I rather like the new style of architecture. BrE
It was a nice house, but rather too small for a family of four. BrE
The task proved to be rather more difficult than I had expected. BrE
2.) would rather
used to say that you would prefer to do or have something
I'd rather have a quiet night in front of the TV.
We could eat later if you would rather do that.
'I think you'd better ask her.' ' I'd rather not (=I do not want to) .'
would rather ... than ...
I'd rather die than apologize to Helen.
I'd rather you didn't go out alone (=I do not want you to go) .
3.) rather than
instead of
I think you'd call it a lecture rather than a talk.
Rather than go straight on to university why not get some work experience first?
Bryson decided to quit rather than accept the new rules.
4.) or rather
used before correcting something that you have said, or giving more specific information
We all went in Vic's car, or rather his father's.
5.) not ... but rather ...
used to say that one thing is not true but a different thing is true
The problem is not their lack of funding, but rather their lack of planning.
6.) rather you/him/her/them than me
spoken used to say that you are glad that you are not going to be doing something that someone else will be doing
7.) Rather!
BrE spoken old-fashioned used to agree with someone
WORD CHOICE: rather, fairly, quite, pretty
Rather, fairly, quite, and pretty are all used to say that something is true to some degree, but not completely or extremely : She's rather shy. | You should find the test fairly easy. | It took quite a long time (NOT a quite long time). |His English is pretty good.
Rather is fairly formal but can be used in spoken English, especially British English. In American English it is more usual to use pretty . In both American and British English, pretty is more usual in speech than in writing.
Quite can also be used in front of an adjective or adverb, and in British English a verb, to mean 'completely'. This is a fairly formal use : You are quite wrong. |I quite understand your feelings.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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  • rather — 1. Rather is common in BrE as a so called ‘downtoner’, i.e. an adverb that reduces the effect of the following adjective, adverb, or noun, as in It is rather expensive, You were driving rather fast, and He s rather a fool. With nouns, the… …   Modern English usage

  • Rather — Rath er (r[a^][th] [ e]r; 277), adv. [AS. hra[eth]or, compar. of hra[eth]e, hr[ae][eth]e, quickly, immediately. See {Rath}, a.] [1913 Webster] 1. Earlier; sooner; before. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Thou shalt, quod he, be rather false than I. Chaucer …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rather — [rath′ər, räth′ər; ] for interj. [ ra′thʉr′, rä′thʉr′] adv. [ME < OE hrathor, compar. of hrathe, hræthe, quickly: see RATHE] 1. Obs. more quickly; sooner 2. more willingly; preferably [would you rather have tea?] 3. with more justice, logic,… …   English World dictionary

  • Rather — is a family name. It is also an adverb in the English language.Rather may refer to:* Dan Rather, news presenter * Elizabeth Rather, expert in the computer programming language Forthsurname …   Wikipedia

  • rather — ► ADVERB 1) (would rather) indicating one s preference in a particular matter. 2) to a certain or significant extent or degree. 3) on the contrary. 4) more precisely. 5) instead of; as opposed to. ► EXCLAMATION Brit. dated …   English terms dictionary

  • Rather — ist der Name folgender Personen: Rather von Verona (um 887 974), Theologe und Bischof von Verona und Lüttich Dan Rather (* 1931), US amerikanischer Journalist Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • rather — [adv1] moderately a bit, a little, averagely, comparatively, enough, fairly, in a certain degree, kind of, more or less, passably, pretty, quite, ratherish, reasonably, relatively, slightly, some, something, somewhat, sort of, so so*, tolerably,… …   New thesaurus

  • Rather — Rath er (r[a^][th] [ e]r), a. [Compar. of {Rath}, a.] Prior; earlier; former. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] Now no man dwelleth at the rather town. Sir J. Mandeville. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rather — O.E. hraþor more quickly, earlier, sooner, also more readily, comparative of hraþe, hræþe quickly, related to hræð quick, from P.Gmc. *khrathuz (Cf. O.N. hraðr, O.H.G. hrad). The base form rathe was obsolete by 18c. except in poetry; superlative… …   Etymology dictionary

  • rather — [[t]rɑ͟ːðə(r), ræ̱ð [/t]] ♦ 1) PHR PREP You use rather than when you are contrasting two things or situations. Rather than introduces the thing or situation that is not true or that you do not want. The problem was psychological rather than… …   English dictionary

  • rather — predeterminer, adverb 1 (+ adj/adv) quite; fairly: I was rather surprised to see him with his ex wife. | He was limping rather badly as he walked off the field. | It s not too big for you at all. I rather like the way it fits you. | rather a big… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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