rather


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rather you than me

set phrase I'm glad that I don't have to experience what you just mentioned having to do or go through. A: "My boss is making me come in this weekend to do an inventory of the entire store. It's going to take forever!" B: "Wow, rather you than me. I'm going to a baseball game this weekend!"
See also: rather

be a bit steep

1. To be a bit more expensive than expected. Thirty bucks for two movie tickets and an order of popcorn? That's a bit steep, don't you think?
2. To be unfair, untrue, or unreasonable. I just think it's a bit steep for her to call me lazy, when she knows I've got a medical condition keeping me from working!
See also: bit, steep

be rather steep

1. To be more expensive than expected. Thirty bucks for two movie tickets and an order of popcorn? That's rather steep, don't you think?
2. To be unfair, untrue, or unreasonable. I just think it's rather steep for her to call me lazy, when she knows I've got a medical condition keeping me from working!
See also: rather, steep

rather than

Instead of; as opposed to; as an alternative to. Sometimes the preferred action is written between "rather" and "than." Rather than spending so much of our budget on advertising, I think we should invest a bit more in QA testing. I usually prefer wine rather than beer, but on a hot day like today, a cold beer is hard to beat. He'd rather struggle and fail on his own than ask for help.
See also: rather

rather (someone) than me

set phrase I'm glad that I don't have to experience what someone else has to do or go through. A: "My boss is making me come in this weekend to do an inventory of the entire store. It's going to take forever!" B: "Wow, rather you than me. I'm going to a baseball game this weekend!" My sister Janet has to work every day over the Christmas break—rather her than me.
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sooner rather than later

As soon or quickly as possible; closer to now than a later time or date. I'd rather we have the meeting sooner rather than later so we can finalize the project details. Can we fill out that application tonight? I'd like to get it done sooner rather than later.
See also: later, rather, sooner

would rather

Would prefer (to do something); would be more inclined or willing (to do something). I would rather go see a movie, to be honest, but we can go dancing if you like. She said she would rather not talk to you right now.
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had rather

Would prefer (to do something); would be more inclined or willing (to do something). I had rather not talk to you right now.
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had rather do something

 and had sooner do something
prefer to do something. (The had is usually expressed as the contraction, 'd.) I'd rather go to town than sit here all evening. They'd rather not.
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have one's rathers

 and have one's druthers (More informal with druthers.)
to have what one prefers; to have one's way. If I had my rathers, we'd go out every Friday night. I suspect that if Joe had his druthers, he'd be taking Mary to the dance instead of Jill.
See also: have, rather

I'd rather face a firing squad than do something

Fig. I would prefer to stand and be executed by gunfire than to do something. I'd rather face a firing squad than go shopping the day after Christmas.
See also: face, firing, rather, squad

would rather

would more willingly; would more readily. I would rather have an apple than a pear. I don't like pears. I'd rather live in the north than the south, because I like snow.
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had rather

Also, had sooner. Would prefer. For example, I had rather you let me do the driving, or He'd sooner switch than fight. This idiom today is often replaced by would rather. [Late 1500s] Also see just as soon.
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would rather

Prefer to, as in We would rather eat dinner before the movie. [Mid-1500s]
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rather than

instead of somebody/something: I think I’ll have a cold drink rather than coffee.Why didn’t you ask for help, rather than trying to do it on your own?
See also: rather

rather you, etc. than ˈme

(also sooner you, etc. than ˈme) (especially British English) used for saying that you are pleased that you do not have to do a difficult or unpleasant thing: ‘She works every weekend.’ ‘Rather her than me.’
See also: rather

would rather... (than)

would prefer to: She’d rather die than give a speech.‘Do you want to come with us?’ ‘No, I’d rather not.’Would you rather walk or go by car?‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ ‘I’d rather you didn’t.’

ˌsooner rather than ˈlater

after a short time rather than after a long time: We urged them to sort out the problem sooner rather than later.
See also: later, rather, sooner

be a bit/rather ˈsteep

(informal) (of a price or a request) be too much; be unreasonable: €6? That seems a bit steep for a small piece of cheese.It’s a bit steep to expect us to work longer hours for no extra money.
See also: bit, rather, steep
References in classic literature ?
She was rather burdened with bunches of herbs and two onions in a bag.
The woman was young and rather stout, with fine large eyes and a certain grave beauty; my memory of her expression is exceedingly vivid, but in dreams one does not observe the details of faces.
I had probably slept only a few minutes, but my commonplace dream had somehow so strongly impressed me that I was no longer drowsy; and after a little while I rose, pushed the embers of my fire together, and lighting my pipe proceeded in a rather ludicrously methodical way to meditate upon my vision.
He told me to tell you he'd be quite willing to wait till you got through college, if you insisted, though he'd RATHER get married this spring before the planting begins.
He likes Nettie Blewett pretty well, too, and mother would rather he married her than any one.
Deane went on speaking; he was conscious of something he had in his mind to say, which might not be agreeable to his uncle, simply because it was a new suggestion rather than an acceptance of the proposition he foresaw.
He's rather fond of carrying everything over other people's heads.
Her face is rather thin and pale just now, with watching and anxiety, but I like to look at it, for it has grown gentler, and her voice is lower.
Jo's keen eyes were rather dim for a minute, and her thin face grew rosy in the firelight as she received her father's praise, feeling that she did deserve a portion of it.
he speculated at last, rather to himself than to her.
Granting the assumption that gentlemen of sixty who are highly cultivated, and have had much experience of life, probably think of many things which they do not say, Katharine could not help feeling rather puzzled by her father's attitude, as she went back to her room.
She had to run about after him, though it was rather undignified.
There is a stamp of unity, of individual genius upon it, which inclines me to the former hypothesis, though I am not blind to the consideration that this unity may rather have arisen from that consensus of many minds which was a condition of primitive thought, foreign to our modern consciousness.
Most men rather admire the nobs for having a good time, but I think we surrender too much when we admit that aristocracy has made even the aristocrats happy.
Of a rather amateurish sort, I fear," answered the strange fisherman.