What does Rather mean?

Definitions for Rather
ˈræð ər, ˈrɑ ðərrather

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Rather.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. rather, insteadadverb

    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, kind of, kinda, sort ofadverb

    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. preferably, sooner, ratheradverb

    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. quite, ratheradverb

    to a degree (not used with a negative)

    "quite tasty"; "quite soon"; "quite ill"; "quite rich"


  1. ratherverb

    To prefer; to prefer to.

  2. ratheradverb

    More quickly; sooner, earlier.

  3. ratheradverb

    Used to specify a choice or preference; preferably.

  4. ratheradverb

    Used to introduce a contradiction; on the contrary.

  5. ratheradverb

    Introducing a qualification or clarification; more precisely. (Now usually preceded by or.)

  6. ratheradverb

    Somewhat, fairly.

  7. Etymology: From rather, rether, from hraþor, comparative of hraþe, equivalent to. More at rathe.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Ratheradverb

    Now out of use.

    Etymology: this is a comparative from rath; rað , Saxon, soon.

    Almighty God desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he should turn from his wickedness and live. Common Prayer.

    ’Tis rather to be thought, that an heir had no such right by divine institution, than that God should give such a right, but yet leave it undeterminate who such heir is. John Locke.

    He sought through the world, but sought in vain,
    And no where finding, rather fear’d her slain. Dryden.

    This is an art,
    Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
    The art itself is nature. William Shakespeare, Winter’s Tale.

    You are come to me in a happy time,
    The rather for I have some sport in hand. William Shakespeare.

    ’Tis with reluctancy he is provoked by our impenitence to apply the discipline of severity and correction; he had rather mankind should adore him as their patron and benefactor. John Rogers, Sermons.


  1. rather

    Rather can be used as an adverb to mean "more willingly" or "to a higher degree" in comparison to something else. It can also be used to express preference or choice, indicating a preference for one option over another. Additionally, it can be used to indicate hesitation or doubt in a statement or to introduce a contrasting or unexpected idea.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ratheradjective

    prior; earlier; former

  2. Ratheradjective

    earlier; sooner; before

  3. Ratheradjective

    more readily or willingly; preferably

  4. Ratheradjective

    on the other hand; to the contrary of what was said or suggested; instead

  5. Ratheradjective

    of two alternatives conceived of, this by preference to, or as more likely than, the other; somewhat

  6. Ratheradjective

    more properly; more correctly speaking

  7. Ratheradjective

    in some degree; somewhat; as, the day is rather warm; the house is rather damp

  8. Etymology: [Compar. of Rath, a.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Rather

    räth′ėr, adv. more willingly: in preference: especially: more so than otherwise: on the contrary: somewhat, in some degree: more properly: (coll.) considerably, very much.—adj. Rath′erish, to a slight degree, somewhat.—Rather better than, somewhat in excess of.—The rather, by so much the more. [A.S. hrathor, comp. of hrathe, early.]

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rather is ranked #15309 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Rather surname appeared 1,917 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 1 would have the surname Rather.

    72.4% or 1,388 total occurrences were White.
    17.5% or 336 total occurrences were Black.
    4.6% or 89 total occurrences were Asian.
    2.8% or 55 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    2.2% or 43 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.3% or 6 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Rather' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #444

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Rather' in Written Corpus Frequency: #442

  3. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'Rather' in Adverbs Frequency: #61

How to pronounce Rather?

How to say Rather in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Rather in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Rather in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of Rather in a Sentence

  1. Hasan Kleib:

    Talk to us, call our law enforcement on what to do with this, rather than just shifting the burden, shifting the responsibility back to Indonesia.

  2. Erik Martin:

    In the last four months, Norton Children's Hospital has diagnosed more than 800 cases. During the same time period a year ago, we had fewer than 300, we also had positive RSV tests throughout the summer. That's rather uncommon as during a typical summer we can go weeks without a confirmed case.

  3. Bruce Klingner:

    It's a tweaking of the conditions, rather than requiring progress on denuclearization before negotiations, it seems the administration agreed to the idea of peace talks but required denuclearization talks to be included.

  4. Floyd Ciruli:

    Organized labor, both locally and nationally, see these movements as a challenge to their survival, their tactic was that it was better to get them out sooner rather than later.

  5. Eugene Delacroix:

    What makes men of genius, or rather, what they make, is not new ideas, it is that idea - possessing them - that what has been said has still not been said enough.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for Rather

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    quickly aroused to anger
    A irascible
    B dicotyledonous
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