Learner's definition of RATHER
1 : to some degree or extent
— often used to make a statement less forceful
Yesterday was a rather [=fairly] hot day.
That sounded rather [=quite a bit] like thunder.
a rather [=quite] common flower
It's getting rather [=pretty] late. We'd better get to bed.
The movie is a comedy, but rather a dull one.
a rather [=somewhat] serious condition
I think the children watch rather too much television.
It rather annoyed me that he was late picking me up.
He has been spending rather a lot of money lately.
She rather likes chocolate.
To tell you the truth, I rather think you are wrong.
You're driving rather fast, don't you think?
2 a — used to introduce a statement that indicates what is true after you have said what is not true
b — used to introduce a statement that corrects what you have just said
I don't like chocolate—rather, I love chocolate.
What matters is not how often you call, but rather what you say.
It wasn't red but rather a shade of bright orange.
We can take the car, or rather, the van.
My father, or rather, my stepfather, will be visiting soon.
3 British, old-fashioned — used to express agreement
1 : in place of (something or someone) : instead of (something or someone)
: and not
He writes at a table rather than a desk.
Why do one thing rather than another?
Rather than using dried herbs, he picked fresh ones from the garden.
2 — used to say what is not chosen or done because something else is chosen or done instead
— used to indicate what you want or prefer to do, have, etc.
She would rather drive than take the train.
I would rather you didn't tell them. [=I would prefer it if you didn't tell them]
We'd rather go somewhere warm. [=we'd prefer to go somewhere warm]
“If you'd rather, we can go outside.” “No, thanks—I'd rather not.”
Which beach would you rather [=would you like to] go to?