Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

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 noun
rate1 S1 W1 [countable]


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


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


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.

at any rate

a) used when you are stating one definite fact in a situation that is uncertain or unsatisfactory [= 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 [= anyway]:
Well, at any rate, the next meeting will be on Wednesday.

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.


of good, bad, or very bad quality:
a cheap third-rate motel

at a rate of knots

British English informal very quickly:
Jack's getting through the ironing at a rate of knots!


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

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