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1530s, "a fixing of rates," verbal noun from rate (v.2). Meaning "a classification according to rates" is from 1764. Ratings of TV programs, originally radio programs, began 1930 in U.S. under system set up by U.S. pollster and market researcher Archibald M. Crossley (1896-1985), and were called Crossley ratings or Crossleys until ratings began to be preferred c.1947.
"estimated value or worth," early 15c., from Old French rate "price, value" and directly from Medieval Latin rata (pars) "fixed (amount)," from Latin rata "fixed, settled," fem. past participle of reri "to reckon, think" (see reason (n.)). Meaning "degree of speed" (prop. ratio between distance and time) is attested from 1650s. Currency exchange sense first recorded 1727. First-rate, second-rate, etc. are 1640s, from British Navy division of ships into six classes based on size and strength. Phrase at any rate originally (1610s) meant "at any cost;" weakened sense of "at least" is attested by 1760.
"to scold," late 14c., probably from Old French reter "to impute blame, accuse, find fault with," from Latin reputare "to count over, reflect," in Vulgar Latin, "to impute, blame" (see reputation). Related: Rated; rating.
"estimate the worth or value of," mid-15c., from rate (n.). Intransitive sense of "have a certain value, rank, or standing" is from 1809; specifically as "have high value" from 1928. Related: Rated; rating.
rate 1 (rāt)
A quantity measured with respect to another measured quantity.
A measure of a part with respect to a whole; a proportion.