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1. adjective Excellent; of the best or highest possible quality or rank. That movie was positively first-rate! The tiny nation boasts a first-rate healthcare system.
2. adverb Very well; superbly; fantastically. I hear Joanna did first-rate on her exams last week.

at a rate of knots

Rapidly. (A boat's speed is measured in knots.) Primarily heard in UK, Australia. We're going to have to move at a rate of knots to have any hope of getting there on time.
See also: knot, of, rate

at any rate

Anyway. We're going to be late, but, at any rate, we should still be there be before 9. I think your mother just tolerates me—at any rate, she certainly doesn't shower me with affection.
See also: any, rate

at that rate

In that case. At that rate, we'll never make it on time! Tanya is busy all month. At that rate, we'll never see her.
See also: rate, that

at this rate

1. At this pace. Drive faster! At this rate, we'll never get there on time! It doesn't have to be perfect. At this rate, we'll frost one cupcake every hour!
2. If this situation persists. All of my friends are getting engaged, and I'm still single. At this rate, I'll be a bridesmaid at least 10 times before I get to be a bride.
See also: rate, this

the going rate (for something)

The typical cost of something. What's the going rate for a new heating system? Ours is on the fritz. A: "$200 seems pretty steep for such a small repair!" B: "That's the going rate, I'm afraid."
See also: going, rate

at any rate

in any case; anyway. At any rate, what were we talking about? At any rate, I don't think you should quit your job.
See also: any, rate

at that rate

in that manner; at that speed. If things keep progressing at that rate, we'll be rich by next year. At that rate we'll never get the money that is owed us.
See also: rate, that

at this rate

at this speed; if things continue in the same way. (Usually of a pessimistic view.) Hurry up! We'll never get there at this rate. At this rate, all the food will be gone before we get there.
See also: rate, this

going rate

the current rate or the current charges for something. The going interest rate for your account is 10 percent. Our babysitter charges us the going rate.
See also: going, rate

rate (someone or something) above (someone or something else)

to judge someone to rank higher than someone else; to judge something to rank higher than something else. Do you rate Alice above Valerie? I rate chocolate ice cream above vanilla.
See also: above, rate

rate someone or something among something

to judge someone or something to be essentially equal to something. I rate Polly among the best of this year's class. We rate these contestants among the best ever.
See also: among, rate

rate someone or something as something

to assign a particular rating to someone or something. I rate her as a number four. The judge rated my cake as second place.
See also: rate

rate (someone or something) below (someone or something else)

to judge someone to rank lower than someone else; to judge something to rank lower than something else. I have to rate Carol below Donna in this regard. We all rate plain chocolate ice cream below rocky road ice cream.
See also: below, rate

rate (someone or something) with (someone or something else)

to judge someone or something to be equal to someone or something else. I rate Fred with Don. They are equally good. Vanilla is very nice, but I don't rate it with chocolate ice cream.
See also: rate

rate something at something

to assign a particular level of rating to something. I rate this brand at about a B-. The broker rated this stock at a buy.
See also: rate

rate something below something else Go to rate someone or something below someone or something

See also: below, else, rate

rate with someone

to be in someone's favor; to be thought of highly by someone. Ann is great. She really rates with me. She doesn't rate with me at all.
See also: rate

at any rate

In any event, whatever the case may be; also, at least. For example, At any rate, I promise to be there even if I'm a little late, or It may not pay well, but at any rate it's a job. [Early 1600s] Also see in any case.
See also: any, rate

at this rate

Also, at that rate.
1. Progressing at this (or that) speed, as in At this rate we'll never finish in time. [Mid-1600s]
2. Under these circumstances, in that case. For example, At this rate they'll never settle their differences. [Late 1700s]
See also: rate, this


Sexually explicit, vulgar, or obscene, as in This film should be X-rated; it's not suitable for children. This expression alludes to a rating system established for motion pictures, in which films rated X may not be viewed by persons under the age of 17. [c. 1970]

at a rate of knots

If someone does something at a rate of knots, they do it very quickly. The band worked at a rate of knots on the LP, often flying back to Dublin after a European show, working all night on the album. By 1935, Blyton was publishing at a rate of knots — adventures, fairy tales, mysteries. Note: The speed of ships is measured in knots. A knot is one nautical mile per hour, equivalent to 1.15 land miles per hour.
See also: knot, of, rate

at a rate of knots

very fast. British informal
A knot here is a nautical unit of speed, equal to one nautical mile per hour.
See also: knot, of, rate

at ˈany rate

1 used to say that a particular fact is true in spite of what has happened in the past or what may happen in the future: Well, that’s one good piece of news at any rate.
2 used to show that you are being more accurate about something that you have just said: He said he’d be here on the 5th. At any rate, I think that’s what he said.
3 used to show that what you have just said is not as important as what you are going to say: There were maybe 80 or 90 people there. At any rate, the room was packed.
See also: any, rate

at a rate of ˈknots

(British English, informal) very fast: You must have been going at a rate of knots to have finished so soon. OPPOSITE: at a snail’s pace
The speed of a boat or ship is measured in knots.
See also: knot, of, rate

at ˈthis/ˈthat rate

(spoken) if the situation continues as it is: This traffic’s terrible. At this rate we’ll never get to the airport on time.
See also: rate, that, this

the ˌgoing ˈrate (for something)

the usual amount of money paid for goods or services at a particular time: They pay slightly more than the going rate for freelance work.
See also: going, rate


mod. cheap; low-priced. Where are your cut-rate sweaters?

at any rate

1. Whatever the case may be; in any case: You should at any rate apologize.
2. Used to indicate a revision or correction to a previous remark: We were delighted, or at any rate satisfied, with the results.
See also: any, rate
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