3British Englishold-fashionedused to emphasize the degree, force etc of an action:
He fairly raced past us on his bike.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE: rather, fairly, quite, prettyRather, fairly, quite, and pretty are all used to say that something is true to some degree, but not completely or extremely• She's rather shy. • You should find the test fairly easy.• It took quite a long time (NOT a quite long time).• His English is pretty good.Rather is fairly formal but can be used in spoken English, especially British English. In American English it is more usual to use pretty. In both American and British English, pretty is more usual in speech than in writing.Quitecan also be used in front of an adjective or adverb, and in British English a verb, to mean 'completely'. This is a fairly formal use• You are quite wrong. • I quite understand your feelings. ➔ See alsorather
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.