rather - definition and synonyms

adverb, predeterminer 

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Rather can be used in the following ways:
as an adverb (before an adjective or another adverb): I’m feeling rather tired.She’s been treated rather badly. (before a verb): He rather enjoys telling other people what to do. (as an answer word): ‘Would you like to come for a ride?’ ‘Rather!’
as a predeterminer (followed by ‘a’): This is rather a good wine.
in the conjunction phrase rather than: It would be better to make a decision now, rather than leave it until later.
as a way of showing how a sentence is connected to what has already been said: His purpose was not so much to attack his rivals. Rather, it was to defend his own position.
  1. 1
    to a fairly large degree

    some rather nice chocolate biscuits

    He was rather a handsome boy.

    I realize that I’ve been rather stupid and selfish.

    Matt left rather suddenly without any explanation.

    rather more/better/worse/bigger etc:

    The problem is rather more complicated than we had expected.

    1. a.
      mainly spoken a little too much, or to a degree that is slightly too great

      Don’t you think she’s rather young to be travelling abroad on her own?

      It’s a good essay, but rather long.

      rather too:

      Toby had drunk rather too much.

  2. 2
    used for introducing a true statement after saying that another statement is not true

    The purpose of Paxton’s book was not to make accusations. Rather, it was to provide information on which accusations might be based.

    Our aim was not to punish the rich, but rather to bring justice to the poor.

  3. 3
    used for correcting what you have just said
    or rather:

    He couldn’t help us, or rather he didn’t want to.

    Who is Fred anyway, or rather who was he?

  4. 4

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    British informal old-fashioned used for showing that you are very keen to do what someone has suggested