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Rather Rath"er, a. [Compar. of Rath, a.] Prior; earlier; former. [Obs.] Now no man dwelleth at the rather town. --Sir J. Mandeville., Rather Rath"er, adv. [AS. hra[eth]or, compar. of hra[eth]e, hr[ae][eth]e, quickly, immediately. See Rath, a.] 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, 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, or would, rather go than stay. ``I had rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousands words in an unknown tongue.' --1 Cor. xiv. 19. See Had rather, under Had.