rather Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “rather” in the English Dictionary

"rather" in British English

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ratheradverb

uk   /ˈrɑː.ðər/  us   /ˈræð.ɚ/
  • rather adverb (SMALL AMOUNT)

B1 quite; to a ​slightdegree: It's rather ​cold today, isn't it? That's rather adifficultbook - here's an ​easier one for you. The ​train was rather too ​crowded for a ​comfortablejourney. She ​answered the ​phone rather ​sleepily. I rather ​doubt I'll be ​able to come to ​yourparty.

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  • rather adverb (MORE EXACTLY)

B2 more ​accurately; more ​exactly: She'll ​fly to California on ​Thursday, or rather, she will if she has to. He's my sister's ​friend really, rather than mine. used to ​express an ​oppositeopinion: The ​ending of the ​war is not a ​cause for ​celebration, but rather for ​regret that it ​everhappened. No, I'm not ​tired. Rather the ​opposite in ​fact.

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  • rather adverb (PREFERENCE)

rather than

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B1 instead of; used ​especially when you ​prefer one thing to another: I ​think I'd like to ​stay at ​home this ​evening rather than go out.

ratheradverb, predeterminer

uk   /ˈrɑː.ðər/  us   /ˈræð.ɚ/

ratherexclamation

uk   /ˌrɑːˈðɜːr/  us   /ˌræðˈɝː/ UK old-fashioned
(Definition of rather from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"rather" in American English

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ratheradverb [not gradable]

 us   /ˈræð·ər, ˈrɑ·ðər/
in ​preference to, or as a ​preference: She ​wants us to ​meet her here rather than go to her ​apartment. I’d rather ​wear the ​blackshoes. She’s saying things that many would rather not ​hear.
more ​accurately; more ​exactly: These were not ​commoncriminals, but rather ​enemies of the ​state.

ratheradjective, adverb [not gradable]

 us   /ˈræð·ər, ˈrɑ·ðər/
to a ​noticeabledegree; ​somewhat: It all ​seems rather ​unimportant.
(Definition of rather from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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