Rath·er a. Prior; earlier; former. [Obs.]
Now no man dwelleth at the rather town. --Sir J. Mandeville.
1. Earlier; sooner; before. [Obs.]
Thou shalt, quod he, be rather false than I. --Chaucer.
A good mean to come the rather to grace. --Foxe.
2. More readily or willingly; preferably.
My soul chooseth . . . death rather than my life. --Job vii. 15.
3. On the other hand; to the contrary of what was said or suggested; instead.
Was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. --Mark v. 26.
4. Of two alternatives conceived of, this by preference to, or as more likely than, the other; somewhat.
He sought throughout the world, but sought in vain,
And nowhere finding, rather feared her slain. --Dryden.
5. More properly; more correctly speaking.
This is an art
Which does mend nature, change it rather, but
The art itself is nature. --Shak.
6. In some degree; somewhat; as, the day is rather warm; the house is rather damp.
The rather, the more so; especially; for better reason; for particular cause.
You are come to me in happy time,
The rather for I have some sport in hand. --Shak.
-- Had rather, or Would rather, prefer to; prefers to; as, he had rather, or would rather go than stay. “I had rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.” --1 Cor. xiv. 19. See Had rather, under Had.
adv 1: 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" [syn: instead]
2: 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" [syn: kind of, kinda,
3: more readily or willingly; "clean it well, preferably with
warm water"; "I'd rather be in Philadelphia"; "I'd sooner
die than give up" [syn: preferably, sooner]
4: to a degree (not used with a negative); "quite tasty";
"quite soon"; "quite ill"; "quite rich" [syn: quite]