- ( UK ) IPA: /ˈpɹɪ.ti/, X-SAMPA: /"pr\I.ti/
- ( US ) IPA: /ˈpɹɪɾi/
- Dialectal IPA: /ˈpɚɾi/
- Rare IPA: /ˈpɹʊɾi/
- Rhymes: -ɪti
- Cunning; clever, skilful. [from 9th c.]
- Pleasant in sight or other senses; attractive, especially of women or children. [from 15th c.]
- 2010, Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, 4 Feb 2010:
- Of objects or things: nice-looking, appealing. [from 15th c.]
- ( often pejorative ) Fine-looking; only superficially attractive; initially appealing but having little substance. [from 15th c.]
- ( dated ) Moderately large; considerable. [from 15th c.]
- 1621, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, I.2.4.vii:
- 2004, "Because They're Worth it", Time, 26 Jan 04:
- ( dated ) Excellent, commendable, pleasing; fitting or proper ( of actions, thoughts etc. ). [from 16th c.]
- 1815, Jane Austen, Emma, Boston 1867, p. 75:
- 1919, Saki, ‘The Oversight’, The Toys of Peace:
- 1926, Ernest Hemingway, The sun also rises, page 251:
- ( sarcastic ) Awkward, unpleasant. [from 16th c.]
- Somewhat, fairly, quite; sometimes also ( by meiosis ) very.
- 1859, Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, I:
- 2002, Colin Jones, The Great Nation, Penguin 2003, p. 539:
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 .
Explanation of pretty by Wordnet Dictionary
- pretty girl
- pretty song
- pretty room
- 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.
- 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.
Definition of pretty by GCIDE Dictionary