rather Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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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 slight degree: It's rather cold today, isn't it? That's rather a difficult book - here's an easier one for you. The train was rather too crowded for a comfortable journey. She answered the phone rather sleepily. I rather doubt I'll be able to come to your party.

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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 opposite opinion: The ending of the war is not a cause for celebration, but rather for regret that it ever happened. 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 black shoes. She’s saying things that many would rather not hear.
more accurately; more exactly: These were not common criminals, but rather enemies of the state.

ratheradjective, adverb [not gradable]

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