pretty
I. adjective (prettier; -est) Etymology: Middle English praty, prety, from Old English prættig tricky, from prætt trick; akin to Old Norse prettr trick Date: before 12th century 1. a. artful, clever b. pat, apt 2. a. pleasing by delicacy or grace b. having conventionally accepted elements of beauty c. appearing or sounding pleasant or nice but lacking strength, force, manliness, purpose, or intensity <
pretty words that make no sense — Elizabeth B. Browning
>
3. a. miserable, terrible <
a pretty mess you've gotten us into
>
b. chiefly Scottish stout 4. moderately large ; considerable <
a very pretty profit
>
<
cost a pretty penny
>
5. easy to enjoy ; pleasant — usually used in negative constructions <
reality is not so pretty — Caleb Solomon
>
Synonyms: see beautifulprettily adverbprettyish adjective II. adverb Date: 1565 1. a. in some degree ; moderately <
pretty cold weather
>
b. quite, mainly <
the wound was…pretty bad — Walt Whitman
>
2. in a pretty manner ; prettily <
pop vocalists who can sing pretty — Gerald Levitch
>
Usage: Some handbooks complain that pretty is overworked and recommend the selection of a more specific word or restrict pretty to informal or colloquial contexts. Pretty is used to tone down a statement and is in wide use across the whole spectrum of English. It is common in informal speech and writing but is neither rare nor wrong in serious discourse <
he may, if he be pretty well off or clever, qualify himself as a doctor — G. B. Shaw
>
<
a return to those traditions of American foreign policy which worked pretty well for over a century — H. S. Commager
>
<
the arguments for buying expensive books have to be pretty cogent — Times Literary Supplement
>
III. noun (plural pretties) Date: 1736 1. plural dainty clothes; especially lingerie 2. a pretty person or thing IV. transitive verb (prettied; prettying) Date: 1909 to make pretty — usually used with up <
curtains to pretty up the room
>

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pretty — Pret ty, a. [Compar. {Prettier}; superl. {Prettiest}.] [OE. prati, AS. pr[ae]ttig, pr[ae]tig, crafty, sly, akin to pr[ae]t, pr[ae]tt, deceit, trickery, Icel. prettugr tricky, prettr a trick; probably fr. Latin, perhaps through Celtic; cf. W.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pretty — [prit′ē] adj. prettier, prettiest [ME prati < OE prættig, crafty < prætt, craft, trick] 1. pleasing or attractive in a dainty, delicate, or graceful way rather than through striking beauty, elegance, grandeur, or stateliness 2. a) fine;… …   English World dictionary

  • pretty — 1. Pretty is used as an adverb with the meaning ‘fairly, moderately’, as in The performance was pretty good / He did pretty much as he liked. The adverb corresponding to the usual meaning of pretty is prettily: She always dresses so prettily. 2.… …   Modern English usage

  • pretty — ► ADJECTIVE (prettier, prettiest) 1) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful. 2) informal used ironically to express displeasure: he led me a pretty dance. ► ADVERB informal ▪ to a moderately high degree; fairly. ► NOUN (pl …   English terms dictionary

  • Pretty — Pret ty, adv. In some degree; moderately; considerably; rather; almost; less emphatic than very; as, I am pretty sure of the fact; pretty cold weather. [1913 Webster] Pretty plainly professes himself a sincere Christian. Atterbury. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pretty — [adj] attractive appealing, beauteous, beautiful, boss*, charming, cheerful, cher*, comely, cute, dainty, darling, delicate, delightful, dishy*, dreamboat*, elegant, eyeful*, fair, fine, foxy*, good looking, graceful, handsome, looker, lovely,… …   New thesaurus

  • pretty — index attractive Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pretty — bonny, comely, fair, *beautiful, lovely, handsome, good looking, beauteous, pulchritudinous Analogous words: charming, attractive, alluring (see under ATTRACT): dainty, delicate, exquisite (see CHOICE adj) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pretty — 1 / prIti/ adverb (+ adj/adv) spoken 1 fairly, though not completely: I m pretty sure he ll say yes. | Life on the farm was pretty tough. see rather 2 very: It s pretty hard to see how we ll manage. 3 pretty well also pretty much very nearly;… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • pretty — pret|ty1 W3S2 [ˈprıti] adv [+ adjective/adverb] spoken 1.) fairly or more than a little ▪ I m pretty sure he ll say yes. ▪ She still looks pretty miserable. see usage note ↑rather 2.) very ▪ Dinner at Luigi s sounds pretty good to me …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pretty — pret|ty1 [ prıti ] adverb MAINLY SPOKEN *** 1. ) fairly: My TV s getting pretty old now. Todd looks pretty tired. 2. ) very: The weather is pretty awful, isn t it? pretty good: I can see they ve done a pretty good job of it. pretty much/well/near …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”