from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To berate.
  • intransitive verb To express reproof.
  • noun A quantity measured with respect to another measured quantity.
  • noun A measure of a part with respect to a whole; a proportion.
  • noun The cost per unit of a commodity or service.
  • noun A charge or payment calculated in relation to a particular sum or quantity.
  • noun Level of quality.
  • noun Chiefly British A locally assessed property tax.
  • intransitive verb To place in a particular class, rank, or grade: synonym: estimate.
  • intransitive verb To specify the performance limits of, especially according to a standard scale.
  • intransitive verb To regard or consider as having a certain value.
  • intransitive verb Chiefly British To value for purposes of taxation.
  • intransitive verb To set a rate for (goods to be shipped).
  • intransitive verb Informal To merit or deserve: synonym: earn.
  • intransitive verb To be ranked in a particular class.
  • intransitive verb Informal To have status, importance, or influence.
  • idiom (at any rate) Whatever the case may be; in any case.
  • idiom (at any rate) Used to indicate a revision or correction to a previous remark.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To chide with vehemence; reprove; scold; censure violently.
  • To affect by chiding or reproving; restrain by vehement censure.
  • To utter vehement censure or reproof; inveigh scoldingly: with at.
  • To ratify. To rate the truce they swore.
  • noun A reproof; specifically, in hunting, a reproof to a dog.
  • noun under these circumstances; if this goes on; etc.
  • To fix at a rate of transportation: as, freight was rated as low as possible.
  • To convey or transport at a given rate.
  • Having missed fire, literally or figuratively; having failed.
  • noun One who has failed; a person who is a failure.
  • noun A ratification.
  • noun A reckoning by comparative values or relations; proportional estimation according to some standard; relative amount, quantity, range, or degree: as, the rate of interest is 6 per cent. (that is, $6 for every $100 for every year); the rate per mile of railroad charges. expenses, or speed; a rapid rate of growth or of progress.
  • noun Charge or valuation according to a scale or standard; comparative price or amount of demand; a fixed measure of estimation.
  • noun A fixed public tax or imposition assessed on property for some local purpose, usually according to income or value: as, poor- rates or church- rates in Great Britain.
  • noun A proportion allotted or permitted; an allotment or provision; a regulated amount or supply.
  • noun A relative scale of being, action, or conduct; comparative degree or extent of any mode of existence or procedure; proportion in manner or method: as, an extravagant rate of living or of expenditure. See at any rate, at no rate. below.
  • noun Hence Mode or manner of arrangement; order; state.
  • noun Degree, rank, or estimation; rating; appraisement: used of persons and their qualities.
  • noun The order or class of a vessel, formerly regulated in the United States navy by the number of guns carried, but now by the tonnage displacement.
  • noun In the United States navy, the grade or position of any one of the crew: same as rating, 2.
  • noun In horology, the daily gain or loss of a chronometer or other timepiece.
  • noun Synonyms Assessment, Impost, etc. See tax.
  • To reckon by comparative estimation; regard as of such a value, rank, or degree; hold at a certain valuation or estimate; appraise; fix the value or price of.
  • To assess as to payment or contribution; fix the comparative liability of, for taxation or the like; reckon at so much in obligation or capability; set a rate upon.
  • To fix the relative scale, rank, or position of: as, to rate a ship; to rate a seaman.
  • To determine the rate of, or rate-error of, as a chronometer or other timepiece. See rate, n., 10.
  • To have value, rank, standing, or estimation: as, the vessel rates as a ship of the line.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • verb To chide with vehemence; to scold; to censure violently; to berate.
  • intransitive verb To be set or considered in a class; to have rank.
  • intransitive verb To make an estimate.
  • transitive verb To set a certain estimate on; to value at a certain price or degree.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English raten, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin rata, proportion, short for Latin (prō) ratā (parte), (according to a) fixed (part), from feminine ablative past participle of rērī, to consider, reckon; see ar- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English raten ("to scold, chide"), from Old Norse hrata ("to refuse, reject, slight, find fault with"), from Proto-Germanic *hratjanan, *hratōnan (“to sway, shake”), from Proto-Indo-European *krad- (“to swing”). Cognate with Swedish rata ("to reject, refuse, find fault, slight"), Norwegian rata ("to reject, cast aside"), Old English hratian ("to rush, hasten").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French, from Medieval Latin rata, from Latin prō ratā parte, from ratus ("fixed"), from rērī ("think, deem, judge, originally reckon, calculate").


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  • "Origin unknown" (according to the OED) only for the verb in sense "to scold."

    June 15, 2018

  • Its origin in Middle English raten etc. is thoroughly documented above.

    June 15, 2018