Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of pretty
Meaning of pretty by Wiktionary Dictionary


    Alternative forms


    From Middle English prety, preti, praty, prati, from Old English prættiġ ( “tricky, crafty, sly, cunning, wily, astute” ), corresponding to prat ( “trick” ) +‎ -y. Cognate with Dutch prettig ( “nice, pleasant” ), dialectal German ( East Friesland ) prettig ( “funny” ), Low German pratzig ( “arrogant, boastful, haughty” ), German protzig ( “showy, ostentatious, swanky, pretentious” ), Icelandic prettugur ( “deceitful, tricky” ). For the sense-development, compare canny, clever .


    • ( UK ) IPA: /ˈpɹɪ.ti/, X-SAMPA: /"pr\I.ti/
    • ( US ) IPA: /ˈpɹɪɾi/
      • Dialectal IPA: /ˈpɚɾi/
      • Rare IPA: /ˈpɹʊɾi/
    • Rhymes: -ɪti


    pretty ( comparative prettier, superlative prettiest )

    1. Cunning; clever, skilful. [from 9th c.]
    2. Pleasant in sight or other senses; attractive, especially of women or children. [from 15th c.]
    3. Of objects or things: nice-looking, appealing. [from 15th c.]
    4. ( often pejorative ) Fine-looking; only superficially attractive; initially appealing but having little substance. [from 15th c.]
    5. ( dated ) Moderately large; considerable. [from 15th c.]
    6. ( dated ) Excellent, commendable, pleasing; fitting or proper ( of actions, thoughts etc. ). [from 16th c.]
    7. ( sarcastic ) Awkward, unpleasant. [from 16th c.]




    pretty ( not comparable )

    1. Somewhat, fairly, quite; sometimes also ( by meiosis ) very.

    Derived terms


    pretty ( plural: pretties )

    1. Something that is pretty .
      "We'll stop at the knife store a look at the sharp pretties .
      • 1939, Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf, The Wizard of Oz
        I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!


    pretty ( third-person singular simple present pretties present participle prettying, simple past and past participle prettied )

    1. To make pretty; to beautify

    Derived terms


Explanation of pretty by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. to a moderately sufficient extent or degree

    2. pretty big
      pretty bad
    1. pleasing by delicacy or grace

    2. pretty girl
      pretty song
      pretty room
    3. unexpectedly bad

    4. a pretty mess
      a pretty kettle of fish

    Definition of pretty by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Pretty a. [Compar. Prettier ; superl. Prettiest.] [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.]
      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.

    2. Pretty adv. 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.