Definition of rather adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈrɑːðə(r)//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈræðər//
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  1. 1  used 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. He looks rather like his father. The patient has responded to the treatment rather better than expected. He was conscious that he was talking rather too much. Which Word?quite / fairly / rather / prettyLook at these examples: The exam was fairly difficult. The exam was quite difficult. The exam was rather difficult. Quite is a little stronger than fairly, and rather is a little stronger than quite. Rather is not very common in North American English; pretty has the same meaning and this is used in informal British English too:The exam was pretty difficult. In British English quite has two meanings:I feel quite tired today(= fairly tired). With adjectives that describe an extreme state (‘non-gradable’ adjectives) it means ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’:I feel quite exhausted. With some adjectives, both meanings are possible. The speaker’s stress and intonation will show you which is meant:Your essay is quite good(= fairly good—it could be better);Your essay is quite good(= very good, especially when this is unexpected). In North American English quite usually means something like ‘very’, not ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’. Pretty is used instead for this sense.
  2. 2used with a verb to make a statement sound less strong I rather suspect we're making a mistake. We were rather hoping you'd be able to do it by Friday.
  3. 3  used 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.
  4. 4  used 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 grey.
  5. Word OriginOld English hrathor ‘earlier, sooner’, comparative of hræthe ‘without delay’, from hræth ‘prompt’, of Germanic origin.Extra examples I didn’t fail the exam; in fact I did rather well! I’m sorry, I’ve got rather a lot on my mind. It’s a rather difficult question. Recently she’d been thinking about him rather too much. She looked rather well after her night in hospital. The rules are rather complicated. They’d had rather a lot to drink.Idioms  instead of somebody/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?
    rather you, him, etc. than me
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    (informal) used for saying that you would not like to do something that another person is going to do ‘I'm going climbing tomorrow.’ ‘Rather you than me!’
     (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.’ Express YourselfExpressing a preferenceThese are ways of stating what your preferred choice is. Note that we sometimes discount our own expertise or authority before expressing our preference: I like the red one better than/​more than the green one. I prefer beef to lamb. I'd prefer to wait here. I'd rather go to the concert than the play. I think I'd rather stay in than go out tonight. I like swimming better than jogging. I think that colour's much more attractive. It doesn’t really matter to me whether we eat here or go out. (especially North American English) I don't really mind whether we talk now or later. (British English) I’m happy either way. (North American English) I don't really care either way. If it were up to me, I'd choose the green one. If you ask me, the old one looks better than the new one. I’m not an expert but Design B seems more eye-catching.