American English

Definition of rate noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1 a measurement of the speed at which something happens Most people walk at an average rate of 2 miles an hour. The number of reported crimes is increasing at an alarming rate. Figures published today show another fall in the rate of inflation. At the rate you work, you'll never finish!
  2. 2a measurement of the number of times something happens or exists during a particular period Local businesses are closing at a/the rate of three a year. a high/low/rising rate of unemployment the annual crime/divorce rate His pulse rate dropped suddenly. a high success/failure rate see also birth rate, death rate
  3. 3a fixed amount of money that is charged or paid for something advertising/insurance/postal, etc. rates to pay someone a low/high hourly rate We offer special reduced rates for students. a fixed-rate mortgage (= one in which the amount of money paid back each month is fixed for a particular period) the basic rate of tax (= the lowest amount that is paid by everyone) exchange/interest rates rates of exchange/interest see also flat rate, prime rate, rack rate, first-rate, second-rate, third-rate
  4. Thesaurusratecharge fee rent fine fare tollThese are all words for an amount of money that is charged or paid for something.rate a fixed amount of money that is asked or paid for something:a low hourly rate interest ratescharge an amount of money that is asked for goods or services:an admission charge a rental chargefee (somewhat formal) an amount of money that you have to pay for professional advice or services, to go to a school or college, or to join an organization:legal fees an annual membership feerent an amount of money that you regularly have to pay for use of a home or an officefine a sum of money that must be paid as punishment for breaking a law or rule:a parking finefare the money that you pay to travel by bus, plane, taxi, etc.toll an amount of money that you have to pay to use a particular road or bridge.Patterns (a) rate/charge/fee/rent/fine/fare/toll for something (a) rate/charge/fee/rent/toll on something at a rate/charge/fee/rent/fare of… for a charge/fee to pay (a) rate/charge/fee/rent/fine/fare/toll to charge (a) rate/fee/rent/fare/tollIdioms
      at any rate (informal)
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    1. 1used to say that a particular fact is true despite what has happened in the past or what may happen in the future Well, that's one good piece of news at any rate. I may be away on business next week but at any rate I'll be back by Friday.
    2. 2used to show that you are being more accurate about something that you have just said He said he'll be coming tomorrow. At any rate, I think that's what he said.
    3. 3used to show that what you have just said is not as important as what you are going to say There were maybe 60 or 70 people there. At any rate, the room was packed.
    at this/that rate (informal)
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    used to say what will happen if a particular situation continues to develop in the same way At this rate, we'll be bankrupt soon.
    the going rate (for something)
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    the usual amount of money paid for goods or services at a particular time They pay slightly more than the going rate.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: rate