Hi everybody!

Thesaurus gives these four meanings for the word "rather":


1.rather - 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"

2.rather - 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"

kind of, kinda, sort of
3.rather - more readily or willingly; "clean it well, preferably with warm water"; "I'd rather be in Philadelphia"; "I'd sooner die than give up"

preferably, sooner
4.rather - to a degree (not used with a negative); "quite tasty"; "quite soon"; "quite ill"; "quite rich"


I find meanings #2 and #4 almost synonymous. Is this so or do they have clear, definite different uses and meanings?

Thanks a lot!

Hi Mara,

They seem synonymous to me.

I wonder whether #4 is the "exclamatory" sense of "rather", i.e. "more than I expected", or "slightly surprisingly":

1. I visited MrQ last week. Do you know, he's rather rich!

2. "How was your pizza?" "Rather tasty!"

3. "What's his new girlfriend like?" "Rather pretty, actually..."

(The intonation seems different from #2, as well.)