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In this YouTube video around 7:02 the author says:

[...] rather is one of those words which can have a different meaning [...] depending on how you pronounce it.

This got me interested and I found two pronunciations in a couple of Internet dictionaries (for example Merriam-Webster and Wikitionary): with an emphasis on the first syllable or on the last. However I think I have never heard it being pronounced the second way.

How does the pronunciation change the meaning of this word and what are some examples of sentences with "rather" being pronounced by emphasizing the second syllable?

  • 1
    Nobody pronounces rather with an accent on the last syllable. – Peter Shor Oct 24 at 19:20
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    @PeterShor it can be. "Do you want to go out?" — "Rather". – Weather Vane Oct 24 at 19:31
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    @WeatherVane: I don't think that's an accent on the last syllable. That's secondary stress on the second syllable. But I do see what you mean. – Peter Shor Oct 24 at 19:35
  • @KubaSzymanowski can you please cite those internet dictionaries? Also the video is 13 minutes long, and appears to be about the word "really". Can you give a time of the relevant part? – Weather Vane Oct 24 at 19:38
  • @WeatherVane I added the video timestamp and dictionary links to my question. – Kuba Szymanowski Oct 24 at 21:17
3

The meaning of rather with stress on the second syllable is certainly. Lexico defines it as

dated British: Used to express emphatic affirmation, agreement, or acceptance.

Cambridge Dictionaries has an example pronunciation of rather with the primary accent on the second syllable. Scroll down until you get to the exclamation definition. It still has a lot of stress on the first syllable.

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