Meaning of RATE in English


I. rate 1 S1 W1 /reɪt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ rate , ↑ overrate ≠ UNDERRATE ; noun : ↑ rate , ↑ rating ; adjective : ↑ overrated ≠ ↑ underrated ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: French ; Origin: Medieval Latin rata , from Latin pro rata parte 'according to a fixed part' , from ratus , past participle of reri 'to calculate' ]

1 . NUMBER the number of times something happens, or the number of examples of something within a certain period

birth/unemployment/crime etc rate

Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 6.5% in February.

a rapid increase in the divorce rate

high/low rate of something

areas with high rates of crime

success/failure rate (=the number of times that something succeeds or fails)

It’s a new technique and the failure rate is quite high.

Immediately his heart rate (=the number of beats per minute) increased.

at a rate of something

Asylum seekers were entering Britain at a rate of 1,600 per day.

⇨ ↑ birthrate , ↑ death rate

2 . MONEY a charge or payment that is set according to a standard scale

at (a) ... rate

people who pay tax at the highest rate

at a rate of something

They only pay tax at a rate of 5%.

interest/exchange/mortgage etc rate

another reduction in the mortgage rate

rate of pay/tax/interest etc

Nurses are demanding higher rates of pay.

special/reduced/lower rate

Some hotels offer special rates for children.

hourly/weekly rate (=the amount someone is paid per hour or week)

What’s the hourly rate for cleaning?

$20 an hour is the going rate (=the usual amount paid) for private tuition.

⇨ ↑ base rate , ⇨ cut-rate at ↑ cut-price , ⇨ ↑ exchange rate , ↑ interest rate , ↑ prime rate

3 . SPEED the speed at which something happens over a period of time

rate of

an attempt to slow down the rate of economic growth

at (a) ... rate

Children learn at different rates.

Our money was running out at an alarming rate.

at a rate of something

Iceland is getting wider at a rate of about 0.5 cm per year.

4 . at any rate spoken

a) used when you are stating one definite fact in a situation that is uncertain or unsatisfactory SYN anyway :

They’ve had technical problems – at any rate that’s what they told me.

b) used to introduce a statement that is more important than what was said before SYN anyway :

Well, at any rate, the next meeting will be on Wednesday.

5 . at this rate spoken used to say what will happen if things continue to happen in the same way as now:

At this rate we won’t ever be able to afford a holiday.

6 . first-rate/second-rate/third-rate of good, bad, or very bad quality:

a cheap third-rate motel

7 . at a rate of knots British English informal very quickly:

Jack’s getting through the ironing at a rate of knots!

8 . rates [plural] a local tax, paid before 1990 by owners of buildings in Britain

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)


▪ high

Rates of adult illiteracy are still too high.

▪ low

The hospital’s death rate is the lowest in the region.

▪ a rising/falling rate

A falling mortality rate led to a gradual increase in the proportion of the aged in the population.

▪ the unemployment rate

In April, the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent, a 23-year low.

▪ the death/mortality rate

The death rate among the homeless is three times higher than the rest of the population.

▪ the birth rate

In many developing countries, birth rates are falling.

▪ the crime rate

Our crime rate is one of the lowest in the country.

▪ the divorce rate

The UK has one of the highest divorce rates in Europe.

▪ the success/failure rate

The success rate is still extremely low.

▪ the survival rate

The survival rate of twins and triplets has increased in recent years.

▪ sb’s heart/pulse rate (=the number of beats per minute)

A miner’s resting heart rate can be between 40 and 60 beats a minute.

▪ metabolic rate (=the rate at which the body changes food into energy)

Metabolic rate rises with any form of activity.

■ verbs

▪ the rate goes up ( also the rate rises/increases more formal )

The crime rate just keeps going up.

▪ the rate goes down ( also the rate falls/decreases more formal )

We are expecting unemployment rates to fall.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ adjectives

▪ high

You ought to switch to an account that pays a higher rate of interest.

▪ low

Wage rates in the industry are still too low, he says.

▪ a special/reduced rate (=a lower charge)

Reduced rates are available for groups of 10 or more visitors.

▪ the hourly/weekly rate (=the amount someone is paid per hour or per week)

Women have lower hourly rates of pay than men.

▪ the going rate (=the usual amount paid)

She could not afford to pay them the going rate.

▪ a flat/fixed rate (=one that does not change)

Profits were taxed at a flat rate of 45 percent.

▪ the interest rate (=the amount of interest charged on a loan or paid on savings)

Interest rates have remained high.

▪ a mortgage rate (=the rate charged by a bank on a loan to buy a house)

Higher mortgage rates should slow down the rapid rise in house prices.

▪ a tax rate

People objected to higher property tax rates.

▪ the exchange rate (=the value of the money of one country compared to the money of another country)

the exchange rate between the dollar and sterling

▪ the wage rate

What is the hourly wage rate?

▪ the base rate British English (=the rate of interest set by the Bank of England, on which all British banks base their charges)

The interest charged on your overdraft changes in line with bank base rates.

▪ the prime rate (=the lowest rate of interest at which companies can borrow money from a bank)

The amount above the prime rate is determined by the bank’s assessment of the risk involved in making the loan.

■ phrases

▪ the rate of interest/pay/tax etc

They believe that Labour would raise the basic rate of tax.

▪ at a rate of

Some customers are paying interest at a rate of over 15%.

■ verbs

▪ raise/put up the rate

If the banks raise interest rates, this will reduce the demand for credit.

▪ cut/reduce/lower a rate

The Halifax Building Society is to cut its mortgage rate by 0.7 percent.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 3)

■ adjectives

▪ a faster/slower rate

The urban population has grown at a faster rate than the rural population.

▪ a rapid rate

The plant’s ability to thrive in these conditions is partly due to its rapid rate of growth.

▪ an alarming rate

The alarming rate of increase in pollution levels has concerned environmentalists.

▪ a tremendous/phenomenal rate

He started to produce movies at a tremendous rate.

▪ an unprecedented rate (=a rate that is faster than ever before)

We are losing species at an unprecedented rate.

▪ a constant/steady rate

The process takes place at a constant rate.

• • •


▪ cost the amount of money you need to buy or do something. Cost is usually used when talking in a general way about whether something is expensive or cheap rather than when talking about exact prices:

The cost of running a car is increasing.


the cost of raw materials

▪ price the amount of money you must pay for something that is for sale:

They sell good-quality clothes at reasonable prices.


the price of a plane ticket to New York

▪ value the amount of money that something is worth:

A new kitchen can increase the value of your home.

▪ charge the amount that you have to pay for a service or to use something:

Hotel guests may use the gym for a small charge.


bank charges

▪ fee the amount you have to pay to enter a place or join a group, or for the services of a professional person such as a lawyer or a doctor:

There is no entrance fee.


The membership fee is £125 a year.


legal fees

▪ fare the amount you have to pay to travel somewhere by bus, plane, train etc:

I didn’t even have enough money for my bus fare.


fare increases

▪ rent the amount you have to pay to live in or use a place that you do not own:

The rent on his apartment is $800 a month.

▪ rate a charge that is set according to a standard scale:

Most TV stations offer special rates to local advertisers.

▪ toll the amount you have to pay to travel on some roads or bridges:

You have to pay tolls on many French motorways.

II. rate 2 BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: verb : ↑ rate , ↑ overrate ≠ UNDERRATE ; noun : ↑ rate , ↑ rating ; adjective : ↑ overrated ≠ ↑ underrated ]

1 .

a) [transitive] to think that someone or something has a particular quality, value, or standard:

The company seems to rate him very highly (=think he is very good) .

be rated (as) something

Rhodes is currently rated the top junior player in the country.

b) [intransitive] to be considered as having a particular quality, value, or standard

rate as

That rates as one of the best meals I’ve ever had.

2 . [transitive] British English informal if you rate someone or something, you think they are very good:

I never rated him.

3 . rate sb’s chances (of doing something) British English spoken if you do not rate someone’s chances of achieving something, you do not think that it is likely that they will achieve it:

I don’t rate your chances of getting a ticket for the Leeds game.

How do you rate your chances tomorrow (=do you think you will be successful?) ?

4 . [transitive] informal especially American English to deserve something:

They rate a big thank-you for all their hard work.

a local incident that didn’t rate a mention in the national press

5 . be rated G/U/PG/X etc if a film is rated G, U etc, it is officially judged to be suitable or unsuitable for people of a particular age to see ⇨ ↑ X-rated

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.