Meaning of “rather” in the English Dictionary

"rather" in English

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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/


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/

rather adverb [ not gradable ] (PREFERABLY)

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.

rather adverb [ not gradable ] (MORE EXACTLY)

more accurately; more exactly:

These were not common criminals, but rather enemies of the state.

ratheradjective, adverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈræð·ər, ˈrɑ·ðər/

rather adjective, adverb [ not gradable ] (TO SOME DEGREE)

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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We have also made targeted reductions based on past implementation, rather than making across-the-board cuts, which have become almost a tradition.
Should this render aviation companies less profitable or hinder the enormous growth in air transport, this would not be a disaster, but rather a necessity.
The family should be seen today, ultimately, as a community based on affection rather than the civil effect of a contract blessed by religion.
In all cases, these are public companies whose financial prowess derives from their past and present positions of monopoly rather than managerial expertise.
Surely our duty is rather to increase consumers' responsibility rather than to make children of them by telling them what is good or bad for them.
Of course, we hope that peace will be preserved and that these issues will be resolved through negotiation rather than force.
What we should be doing is coordinating them better rather than ruling them out in the name of a uniformity which would only prove counter-productive.
I am also envisaging that the authority will be much more proactive than our current regime - anticipate rather than react, identify issues before they become crises.
The true solution is not to tolerate the absence of consumer information, but rather to increase the efforts to separate genetically modified products from conventional products throughout the production process.
If we pursue this line of attack, railway undertakings will need to put their customers and passengers first, rather than act out of self-interest.