American English

Definition of rather adverb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1used to mean “fairly” or “to some degree,” often when you are expressing slight criticism, disappointment, or surprise The instructions were rather complicated. She fell and hurt her leg rather badly. I didn't fail the exam; in fact I did rather well! It was a rather difficult question. It was rather a difficult question.
  2. 2used to correct something you have said, or to give more accurate information She worked as a secretary, or rather, a personal assistant. In the end he had to walk—or rather run—to the office. Language Banki.e.explaining what you mean Some poems are mnemonics (i.e., they are designed to help you remember something). Some poems are mnemonics;that is to say, they are designed to help you remember something. Mnemonic poems –that is, poems designed to help you remember something – are an excellent way to learn lists. A limerick's rhyme scheme is A–A–B–B–A. In other words, the first, second, and fifth lines all rhyme with one another, while the third and fourth lines have their own rhyme. In this exercise, the reader is encouraged to work out the meaning, or rather the range of meanings, of the poem. This is a poem about death, or, more precisely, dying. He says his poems deal with “the big issues,”by which he means love, loss, grief, and death.
  3. 3used to introduce an idea that is different or opposite to the idea that you have stated previously The walls were not white, but rather a sort of dirty gray.
  4. Idioms
    rather than
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    instead of someone or something I think I'll have a cold drink rather than coffee. Why didn't you ask for help, rather than trying to do it on your own?
    would rather… (than)
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    (usually reduced to 'd rather) would prefer to She'd rather die than give a speech. “Do you want to come with us?” “No, I'd rather not.” Would you rather walk or take the bus? “Do you mind if I smoke?” “Well, I'd rather you didn't.”

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