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 (răth′ər, rä′thər)
1. More readily; preferably: I'd rather go to the movies.
2. More exactly; more accurately: He's my friend, or rather he was my friend.
3. To a certain extent; somewhat: It's rather cold out. I was rather hoping you'd call.
4. On the contrary: This is not a thoughtful criticism. Rather it is an insult.
5. (ră′thûr′, rä′-) Chiefly British Most certainly. Used as an emphatic affirmative reply.

[Middle English, from Old English hrathor, comparative of hræthe, quickly, soon, from hræth, quick.]
Usage Note: In expressions of preference rather is commonly preceded by would: We would rather rent the house than buy it outright. In formal style, should is sometimes used, though this can sound pretentious in American English: I should rather go with you than stay home. Sometimes had appears in these constructions, although this use of had seems to be growing less frequent: I had rather work with Williams than work for him. This usage was once widely criticized as a mistake, but the criticism resulted from a misanalysis of the contraction in sentences such as I'd rather stay. The 'd here is a survival of the subjunctive form had that appears in constructions like had better and had best, as in We had better leave now. This use of had goes back to Middle English and is perfectly acceptable. · Before an unmodified noun only rather a is used: It was rather a disaster. When the noun is preceded by an adjective, however, both rather a and a rather are found: It was rather a boring party. It was a rather boring party. Rather a is more typical of British English than American English. When a rather is used in this construction, rather qualifies only the adjective, whereas with rather a it qualifies either the adjective or the entire noun phrase. Thus a rather long ordeal can mean only "an ordeal that is rather long," whereas rather a long ordeal can also mean roughly "a long process that is something of an ordeal." Rather a is the only possible choice when the adjective itself does not permit modification: The horse was rather a long shot (not The horse was a rather long shot).
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


adv (in senses 1-4, not used with a negative)
1. relatively or fairly; somewhat: it's rather dull.
2. to a significant or noticeable extent; quite: she's rather pretty.
3. to a limited extent or degree: I rather thought that was the case.
4. with better or more just cause: this text is rather to be deleted than rewritten.
5. more readily or willingly; sooner: I would rather not see you tomorrow.
sentence connector
on the contrary: it's not cold. Rather, it's very hot indeed.
sentence substitute
an expression of strong affirmation, often in answer to a question: Is it worth seeing? Rather!.
[Old English hrathor comparative of hræth ready, quick; related to Old Norse hrathr]
Usage: Both would and had are used with rather in sentences such as I would rather (or had rather) go to the film than to the play. Had rather is less common and is now widely regarded as slightly old-fashioned
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈræð ər, ˈrɑ ðər)

1. to some extent: rather good.
2. in some degree: I rather expect you'll regret it.
3. more properly or justly: The contrary is rather to be supposed.
4. sooner: to die rather than yield.
5. more truly: He is a painter or, rather, a watercolorist.
6. on the contrary: It's not generosity, rather self-interest.
had or would rather, to prefer that or to: I had much rather we not stay.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English hrathor, comp. of hræth quick, rathe]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used as adverb of degree

Rather means 'to a small extent'.

It's a rather sad story.

You can use rather in front of like when you are using like as a preposition.

This animal looks and behaves rather like a squirrel.
She imagined a life rather like that of the Kennedys.

Rather in this sense is mainly used in writing. In conversation you would normally use a bit.

I'm a bit confused
It tastes a bit like a tomato.

Several words and expressions can be used to say that something is the case to a smaller or greater extent.

Rather is also used to soften the effect of the word or expression that follows it. For example, if someone asks you to do something, you might say 'I'm rather busy'. You mean that you are busy, but rather makes your reply seem more polite.

I'm rather puzzled by this question.
He did it rather badly.

Rather is more common in British than American English in the above senses.

2. 'would rather'

If you say that you would rather do something, you mean that you would prefer to do it. In speech, would rather is usually contracted to 'd rather. If you write down what someone says, you usually write 'd rather.

I'll order tea. Or perhaps you'd rather have coffee.
'What was all that about?' – 'I'm sorry, I'd rather not say.'

In sentences like these you use an infinitive without to after would rather.

You can also use would rather followed by a clause to say that you would prefer something to happen or be done. In the clause you use the past simple.

Would you rather she came to see me?
'May I go on?' – 'I'd rather you didn't.'
3. 'rather than'

Rather than is used to link words or expressions of the same type. You use rather than when you have said what is true and you want to compare it with what is not true.

I have used familiar English names rather than scientific Latin ones.
It made him frightened rather than angry.
4. correcting a mistake

You can also use rather when you are correcting a mistake you have made, or when you think of a better word than the one you have just used.

There'd been a message, or rather a series of messages, on Dalziel's answering machine.
He explained what the Crux is, or rather, what it was.
Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.rather - on the contrary; "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"; "used English terms instead of Latin ones"
2.rather - to some (great or small) extent; "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"; "he is kind of shy"
3.rather - more readily or willingly; "clean it well, preferably with warm water"; "I'd rather be in Philadelphia"; "I'd sooner die than give up"
4.rather - to a degree (not used with a negative); "quite tasty"; "quite soon"; "quite ill"; "quite rich"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. instead of, as opposed to She made students think for themselves, rather than telling them what to think.
1. preferably, sooner, instead, more readily, more willingly I'd rather stay at home than fight against the holiday crowds.
2. to some extent, quite, sort of (informal), kind of (informal), a little, a bit, pretty (informal), fairly, relatively, somewhat, slightly, moderately, to some degree I'm afraid it's rather a long story.
3. more exactly, to be precise, more precisely, to be exact, strictly speaking He explained what the Crux is, or rather, what it was.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


To some extent:
Idiom: more or less.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
إلى حَدٍ مابَلْعلى الأصَحيُفَضِّل
hellerei stedet forretsnarere endtemmelig
frekar, fremurfremur, frekarfremur/heldur/frekar en
greičiautikriautiksliau sakant
diezgandrīzāklabākprecīzāk sakotvisai
oldukçaaz çokbirazdaha doğrusudemek daha iyi olacak


1. (preference) we decided to camp, rather than stay at a hoteldecidimos acampar, en lugar de quedarnos en un hotel
I'll stay rather than go aloneprefiero quedarme a ir solo
I'd rather have this one than thatprefiero éste a aquél
"would you like a sweet?" - "I'd rather have an apple"-¿quieres un caramelo? -preferiría una manzana
would you rather stay here?¿prefieres quedarte?
I'd rather stay in tonightpreferiría no salir esta noche
I'd rather he didn't come to the partypreferiría que no viniera a la fiesta
anything rather than that! (hum) → ¡cualquier cosa menos eso!
play anything rather than thattoca cualquier cosa que no sea eso
I'd rather notprefiero no hacerlo
I'd rather not sayprefiero no decirlo
"I'm going to have it out with the boss" - "rather you than me!"-voy a planteárselo al jefeallá tú!
2. (= somewhat) → algo, un poco
he looks rather like his motherse parece un poco a su madre
I feel rather more happy todayhoy me siento algo más contento
I rather suspected as muchme lo sospechaba
I rather think he won't comeme inclino a creer que no vendrá
that is rather too deares algo caro (para mí )
3. (= quite) → bastante
it's a rather difficult task; it's rather a difficult taskes una tarea bastante difícil
we were rather tiredestábamos bastante cansados
I was rather disappointedquedé bastante decepcionado
he did rather well in the examle fue bastante bien en el examen
"isn't she pretty?" - "yes, she is rather"-¿es guapa, eh? -sí, bastante
"are you keen to go?" - "yes, I am rather"-¿tienes ganas de ir? -sí que quiero
there's rather a lothay bastante
£20! that's rather a lot!¡20 libras! ¡es bastante caro!
I've got rather a lot of homework to dotengo muchos deberes que hacer
it's rather a pityes una pena or lástima
4. (= more accurately) rather it is a matter of moneyantes es cuestión de dinero, es al contrario or más bien cuestión de dinero
or rathero mejor dicho, es decir
a car, or rather an old bangerun coche, o mejor dicho, un trasto viejo
B. EXCL (o.f.) → ¡ya lo creo!, ¡cómo no! (LAm)
"would you like some?" - "rather!"¿quieres algo de esto? - ¡ya lo creo! or ¡por supuesto!
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈrɑːðər] adv
(= somewhat) → plutôt
It's rather expensive → C'est plutôt cher.
I was rather disappointed → J'étais plutôt déçu.
rather a lot
£20! That's rather a lot! → Vingt livres! C'est plutôt cher!
There is rather a lot to do → Il y a pas mal de choses à faire.
rather a lot of → pas mal de
I've got rather a lot of homework to do → J'ai pas mal de devoirs à faire.
(expressing preference) I would rather (= would prefer) → je préférerais, j'aimerais mieux
I'd rather stay in tonight → Je préférerais rester à la maison ce soir., J'aimerais mieux rester à la maison ce soir.
"Would you like a sweet?" - "I'd rather have an apple." → "Tu veux un bonbon?" - "J'aimerais mieux une pomme.", "Tu veux un bonbon?" - "Je préférerais une pomme."
I'd rather ... than ...
I would rather go than stay → Je préférerais partir plutôt que rester., J'aimerais mieux partir que rester.
Kids would rather play than study → Les enfants préfèrent jouer plutôt que d'étudier., Les enfants aiment mieux jouer qu'étudier.
I'd rather not → j'aimerais mieux pas
I'd rather not ... → j'aimerais mieux ne pas ...
I'd rather not leave → J'aimerais mieux ne pas partir.
I'd rather not say → J'aimerais mieux ne pas le dire.
I'd rather not answer that question → J'aimerais mieux ne pas répondre à cette question.
rather than → plutôt que de
We decided to camp, rather than stay at a hotel → Nous avons décidé de camper plutôt que d'aller à l'hôtel.
I use the bike if I can, rather than the car → Quand je peux, je me sers du vélo plutôt que de la voiture.
(= more accurately) → plutôt
not a circle but rather a spiral → pas un cercle mais plutôt une spirale
or rather → ou plutôt
(expressing an opinion, one's feelings) I rather think (that) ... → je crois bien que ...
I rather think he won't come → Je crois bien qu'il ne viendra pas.
I was rather hoping (that) ... → j'espérais bien que ...
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= for preference)lieber; rather than wait, he went awayer ging lieber, als dass er wartete; I would rather have the blue dressich hätte lieber das blaue Kleid; I would rather be happy than richich wäre lieber glücklich als reich; I would rather you came yourselfmir wäre es lieber, Sie kämen selbst; I’d rather notlieber nicht; I’d rather not goich würde lieber nicht gehen; I’d rather die!eher sterbe ich!; he expected me to phone rather than (to) writeer erwartete eher einen Anruf als einen Brief von mir; it would be better to phone rather than (to) writees wäre besser zu telefonieren als zu schreiben
(= more accurately)vielmehr; he is, or rather was, a soldierer ist, beziehungsweise or vielmehr war, Soldat; a car, or rather an old bangerein Auto, genauer gesagt eine alte Kiste
(= to a considerable degree)ziemlich; (= somewhat, slightly)etwas; he’s a rather clever person or rather a clever personer ist ziemlich klug; he felt rather betterer fühlte sich bedeutend wohler; it’s rather more difficult than you thinkes ist um einiges schwieriger, als du denkst; it’s rather too difficult for mees ist etwas zu schwierig für mich; she’s rather an idiot/a killjoysie ist reichlich doof/ein richtiger Spielverderber; I rather think he’s wrongich glaube fast, er hat unrecht; I’ve rather got the impression …ich habe ganz den Eindruck, …; rather! (inf)und ob! (inf), → klar! (inf)
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


1. adv
a. (preference) → piuttosto
rather than wait, she ... → piuttosto che aspettare, lei...
I'd rather have this one than that → preferirei avere questo piuttosto che quello
would you rather stay here? → preferisci rimanere qui?
I'd rather you didn't come → preferirei che tu non venissi
I'd rather not → preferirei di no
I'd rather not come → preferirei non venire
I would or I'd rather go → preferirei andare
b. (to a considerable degree) → piuttosto; (somewhat) → abbastanza; (to some extent) → un po'
it's rather expensive (quite) → è piuttosto caro (excessively) → è un po' troppo caro
there's rather a lot → ce n'è parecchio
a rather difficult task → un compito piuttosto difficile
I feel rather more happy today → oggi mi sento molto più contento
it's rather a pity → è proprio or davvero un peccato
c. or rather (more accurately) → anzi, per essere (più) precisi
2. excleccome!
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(ˈraːθə) adverb
1. to a certain extent; slightly; a little. He's rather nice; That's a rather silly question / rather a silly question; I've eaten rather more than I should have.
2. more willingly; preferably. I'd rather do it now than later; Can we do it now rather than tomorrow?; I'd rather not do it at all; I would/had rather you didn't do that; Wouldn't you rather have this one?; I'd resign rather than do that.
3. more exactly; more correctly. He agreed, or rather he didn't disagree; One could say he was foolish rather than wicked.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


بَلْ poněkud hellere ziemlich μάλλον algo aika plutôt poprilično piuttosto かなり 상당히 ietwat heller raczej bastante, um tanto скорее hellre ค่อนข้าง oldukça khá 倒是
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


adv. algo, un tanto; bastante; más bien.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
Collins Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009
References in classic literature ?
Entertain hopes; mirth rather than joy; variety of delights, rather than surfeit of them; wonder and admiration, and therefore novelties; studies that fill the mind with splendid and illustrious objects, as histories, fables, and contemplations of nature.
JEMIMA alighted rather heavily, and began to waddle about in search of a convenient dry nesting-place.
Such humble furniture as there may once have been and much of the lower weatherboarding, had served as fuel in the camp fires of hunters; as had also, probably, the curbing of an old well, which at the time I write of existed in the form of a rather wide but not very deep depression near by.
The person who keeps the establishment, or whatever they call it, is rather odd, and EXCEEDINGLY FOREIGN; but she is wonderfully civil, and is perpetually sending to my door to see if I want anything.
Anne was feeling rather sleepy after the party Ruby Gillis had given the night before.
Since you're likely to have rather a smoky, unpleasant time of it at Newcastle for the next few weeks, you'll want a good prospect of some sort to keep up your spirits."
After many skirmishes and snubbings, the ambitious pair were considered effectually quenched and went about with forlorn faces, which were rather belied by explosions of laughter when the two got together.
She was really rather shocked to find it definitely established that her own second cousin, Cyril Alardyce, had lived for the last four years with a woman who was not his wife, who had borne him two children, and was now about to bear him another.
"I think I knew them," said Michael rather doubtfully.
A well constructed plot should, therefore, be single in its issue, rather than double as some maintain.
That makes no difference since it exists in my desires, or rather exists as long as my desires exist.
And so he was; but I am obliged to admit that the object of his reverence was his own skill, towards which he performed some rather affecting acts of worship.