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pretty Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite pleasing by delicacy or grace; not imposing
    • pretty girl
    • pretty song
    • pretty room
  2. adjective satellite (used ironically) unexpectedly bad
    • a pretty mess
    • a pretty kettle of fish
  3. adverb to a moderately sufficient extent or degree
    fairly; passably; reasonably; moderately; jolly; middling; somewhat.
    • pretty big
    • pretty bad
    • jolly decent of him
    • the shoes are priced reasonably
    • he is fairly clever with computers

Pret"ty adjective
OE. prati, AS. prættig, prætig, crafty, sly, akin to præt, prætt, deceit, trickery, Icel. prettugr tricky, prettr a trick; probably fr. Latin, perhaps through Celtic; cf. W. praith act, deed, practice, LL. practica execution, practice, plot. See Practice.
comparative Prettier ; superlative Prettiest
  1. Pleasing by delicacy or grace; attracting, but not striking or impressing; of a pleasing and attractive form a color; having slight or diminutive beauty; neat or elegant without elevation or grandeur; pleasingly, but not grandly, conceived or expressed; as, a pretty face; a pretty flower; a pretty poem.
    This is the prettiest lowborn lass that ever Ran on the greensward. Shak.
  2. Moderately large; considerable; as, he had saved a pretty fortune. "Wavering a pretty while." Evelyn.
  3. Affectedly nice; foppish; -- used in an ill sense.
    The pretty gentleman is the most complaisant in the world. Spectator.
  4. Mean; despicable; contemptible; -- used ironically; as, a pretty trick; a pretty fellow.
  5. Stout; strong and brave; intrepid; valiant. Scot.
    [He] observed they were pretty men, meaning not handsome. Sir W. Scott.
    Syn. -- Elegant; neat; fine. See Handsome.
Pret"ty adverb
  1. In some degree; moderately; considerably; rather; almost; -- less emphatic than very; as, I am pretty sure of the fact; pretty cold weather.
    Pretty plainly professes himself a sincere Christian. Atterbury.

Webster 1913