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Pretty definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

PRETTY, a. prit'ty.
1. Having diminutive beauty; of a pleasing form with the strong lines of beauty, or without gratefulness and dignity; as a pretty face; a pretty person; a pretty flower.
The pretty gentleman is the most complaisant creature in the world.
That which is little can be but pretty, and by claiming dignity becomes ridiculous.
2. Neat and appropriate without magnificence or splendor; as a pretty dress.
3. Handsome; neatly arranged or ornamented; as a pretty flower bed.
4. Neat; elegant without elevation or grandeur; as a pretty tale or story; a pretty song or composition.
5. Sly; crafty; as, he has played his friend a pretty trick. This seems to be the sense of the word in this phrase, according with the Saxon proetig. And hence perhaps the phrase, a pretty fellow.
6. Small; diminutive; in contempt. He will make a pretty figure in a triumph.
7. Not very small; moderately large; as a pretty way off.
Cut off the stalks of cucumbers immediately after their bearing,close by the earth, and then cast a pretty quantity of earth upon the plant, and they will bear next year before the ordinary time. [Not in use.]
PRETTY, adv. prit'ty. In some degree; tolerably; moderately; as a farm pretty well stocked; the colors became pretty vivid; I am pretty sure of the fact; the wind is pretty fair. The English farthing is pretty near the value of the American cent. In these and similar phrases, pretty expresses less than very.
The writer pretty plainly professes himself a sincere christian.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: pleasing by delicacy or grace; not imposing; "pretty girl"; "pretty song"; "pretty room"
2: (used ironically) unexpectedly bad; "a pretty mess"; "a pretty kettle of fish" adv
1: to a moderately sufficient extent or degree; "pretty big"; "pretty bad"; "jolly decent of him"; "the shoes are priced reasonably"; "he is fairly clever with computers" [syn: reasonably, moderately, pretty, jolly, somewhat, fairly, middling, passably] [ant: immoderately, unreasonably]

Merriam Webster's

I. adjective (prettier; -est) Etymology: Middle English praty, prety, from Old English prζttig tricky, from prζtt 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 beautiful • prettily adverb • prettyish 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>

Oxford Reference Dictionary

adj., n., v., & adv. --adj. (prettier, prettiest) 1 attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful or handsome (a pretty child; a pretty dress; a pretty tune). 2 fine or good of its kind (a pretty wit). 3 iron. considerable, fine (a pretty penny; a pretty mess you have made). --adv. colloq. fairly, moderately (am pretty well; find it pretty difficult). --n. (pl. -ies) a pretty person (esp. as a form of address to a child). --v.tr. (-ies, -ied) (often foll. by up) make pretty or attractive. Phrases and idioms: pretty much (or nearly or well) colloq. almost; very nearly. pretty-pretty too pretty. sitting pretty colloq. in a favourable or advantageous position. Derivatives: prettily adv. prettiness n. prettyish adj. prettyism n. Etymology: OE prættig f. WG

Webster's 1913 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. Pretty plainly professes himself a sincere Christian. --Atterbury.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

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. 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.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(prettier, prettiest) Frequency: The word is one of the 1500 most common words in English. 1. If you describe someone, especially a girl, as pretty, you mean that they look nice and are attractive in a delicate way. She's a very charming and very pretty girl. ADJ • prettily She smiled again, prettily. ADV • prettiness Her prettiness had been much admired. 2. A place or a thing that is pretty is attractive and pleasant, in a charming but not particularly unusual way. Whitstable is still a very pretty little town. ADJ • prettily The living-room was prettily decorated. ADV • prettiness ...shells of quite unbelievable prettiness. N-UNCOUNT 3. You can use pretty before an adjective or adverb to mean 'quite' or 'rather'. (INFORMAL) I had a pretty good idea what she was going to do... Pretty soon after my arrival I found lodgings. ADV: ADV adj/adv 4. Pretty much or pretty well means 'almost'. (INFORMAL) His new government looks pretty much like the old one... PHRASE

Soule's Dictionary of English Synonyms

I. a. 1. Pleasing without being striking, moderately beautiful, bonny, beautiful (without dignity or grandeur), comely, fair. 2. Pleasing, neat, elegant without grandeur. 3. Nice, fine, excellent (used ironically, meaning the opposite). 4. Affectedly nice, foppish, affected, petty. II. ad. Moderately, tolerably, considerably, in some degree.

Moby Thesaurus

a bit, a little, acceptably, adequately, adroit, aesthetic, aesthetically appealing, almighty, appealing, attractive, awfully, beauteous, beautiful, bonny, catchy, charming, clever, comely, cunning, cute, darling, decently, die, ducky, dulcet, elegant, endowed with beauty, euphonious, exceedingly, exquisite, extremely, eye-filling, fair, fairishly, fairly, fairly well, fetching, fine, flowerlike, good, good-looking, graceful, gracile, handsome, harmonious, heavy, in a measure, in a way, in some measure, incredibly, just, kind of, lovely, lyrical, mellifluous, melodic, melodious, mightily, mighty, moderately, more or less, musical, only too, passably, plaything, powerful, powerfully, presentably, pretty much, pretty well, pulchritudinous, quite, rather, real, really, reasonably, respectably, right, satisfactorily, scarcely, slightly, so, some, something, somewhat, sort of, terribly, terrifically, to a degree, to some extent, tolerably, toy, tuneful, unexceptionably, very, well enough, wicked, winsome, workmanlike


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