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pretty

[prit-ee] /ˈprɪt i/
adjective, prettier, prettiest.
1.
pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness:
a pretty face.
2.
(of things, places, etc.) pleasing to the eye, especially without grandeur.
3.
pleasing to the ear:
a pretty tune.
4.
pleasing to the mind or aesthetic taste:
He writes pretty little stories.
5.
(often used ironically) fine; grand:
This is a pretty mess!
6.
Informal. considerable; fairly great:
This accident will cost him a pretty sum.
7.
Archaic or Scot. brave; hardy.
noun, plural pretties.
8.
Usually, pretties. pretty ornaments, clothes, etc.
9.
a pretty person:
Sit down, my pretty.
adverb
10.
fairly or moderately:
Her work was pretty good.
11.
quite; very:
The wind blew pretty hard.
12.
Informal. prettily.
verb (used with object), prettied, prettying.
13.
to make pretty; improve the appearance of (sometimes followed by up):
to pretty oneself for a party; to pretty up a room.
Idioms
14.
sitting pretty, Informal.
  1. in an advantageous position.
  2. well-to-do; successful.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English prati(e), pratte, prettie cunning, gallant, fine, handsome, pretty; Old English prættig, prettī cunning, derivative of prǣtt a trick, wile (cognate with Dutch part, pret trick, prank, Old Norse prettr trick, prettugr tricky)
Related forms
prettily, adverb
prettiness, noun
prettyish, adjective
unprettily, adverb
unprettiness, noun
unpretty, adjective
Synonyms
1. See beautiful. 2–4. pleasant. 10. somewhat.
Antonyms
1. ugly.
Usage note
The qualifying adverb pretty, meaning “fairly or moderately” has been in general use since the late 16th century. Although most common in informal speech and writing, it is far from restricted to them, and often is less stilted than alternatives such as relatively, moderately, and quite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for prettier
  • After all there is something about a wedding-gown prettier than in any other gown in the world.
  • Not any prettier than the arrogance of religion, really.
  • The fact that there are always smarter and prettier people out there who didn't please the ugly half-wits doing the hiring.
  • There are places to picnic here, but prettier spots lie ahead.
  • Lizzie was thought by some persons to look prettier than ever.
  • When airfares were set by law, airlines competed by offering better food and prettier stewardesses.
  • In some of the prettier valleys, interior decorators are more common than ranch hands.
  • By doing certain facial exercises, you can make your skin more elastic and have a prettier face, or so goes the theory.
  • Each time it has grabbed an existing technology and produced an easier-to-use and prettier version than anyone else.
  • But grander properties in prettier, more remote places have hardly increased in value.
British Dictionary definitions for prettier

pretty

/ˈprɪtɪ/
adjective -tier, -tiest
1.
pleasing or appealing in a delicate or graceful way
2.
dainty, neat, or charming
3.
commendable; good of its kind: he replied with a pretty wit
4.
(informal, often ironic) excellent, grand, or fine: here's a pretty mess!
5.
(informal) lacking in masculinity; effeminate; foppish
6.
(Scot) vigorous or brave
7.
an archaic word for elegant
8.
(informal) a pretty penny, a large sum of money
9.
(informal) sitting pretty, well placed or established financially, socially, etc
noun (pl) -ties
10.
a pretty person or thing
adverb
11.
(informal) fairly or moderately; somewhat
12.
(informal) quite or very
verb -ties, -tying, -tied
13.
(transitive) often foll by up. to make pretty; adorn
Derived Forms
prettily, adverb
prettiness, noun
Word Origin
Old English prættig clever; related to Middle Low German prattich obstinate, Dutch prettig glad, Old Norse prettugr cunning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prettier

pretty

adj.

Old English prættig (West Saxon), pretti (Kentish), *prettig (Mercian) "cunning, skillful, artful, wily, astute," from prætt, *prett "a trick, wile, craft," from West Germanic *pratt- (cf. Old Norse prettr "a trick," prettugr "tricky;" Frisian pret, Middle Dutch perte, Dutch pret "trick, joke," Dutch prettig "sportive, funny," Flemish pertig "brisk, clever"), of unknown origin.

Connection between Old English and Middle English words is uncertain, but if they are the same, meaning had shifted by c.1400 to "manly, gallant," and later moved via "attractive, skillfully made," to "fine," to "beautiful in a slight way" (mid-15c.). Ironical use from 1530s. For sense evolution, compare nice, silly. Also used of bees (c.1400). "After the OE. period the word is unknown till the 15th c., when it becomes all at once frequent in various senses, none identical with the OE., though derivable from it" [OED].

Meaning "not a few, considerable" is from late 15c. With a sense of "moderately," qualifying adjectives and adverbs, since 1560s. Pretty please as an emphatic plea is attested from 1902. A pretty penny "lot of money" is first recorded 1768.

v.

1916, usually with up, from pretty (adj.). Related: Prettied; prettying. Cf. prettify.

n.

"a pretty person or thing," 1736, from pretty (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for prettier

pretty

adverb

Quite; more than a little: The weather's pretty rotten (1565+)

Related Terms

be sitting pretty


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with prettier
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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