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pretty

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adjective pret·ty \ ˈpri-tē , ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \

Definition of pretty

prettier; prettiest
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 Scotland :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

prettily

play \-tə-lē\ adverb

prettyish

play \-tē-ish\ adjective

Examples of pretty in a Sentence

  1. This white shape stood apart by the hedge alone. From her position he knew it to be the pretty maiden with whom he had not danced. Trifling as the matter was, he yet instinctively felt that she was hurt by his oversight. —Thomas HardyTess of the D'Urbervilles1891
  2. Darcy, on the contrary, had seen a collection of people in whom there was little beauty and no fashion, for none of whom he had felt the smallest interest, and from none received either attention or pleasure. Miss Bennet he acknowledged to be pretty, but she smiled too much. —Jane AustenPride and Prejudice1813
  3. He made a pretty profit selling his antique car.

  4. She received a pretty sum of money.

Recent Examples of pretty from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretty

Middle English praty, prety, from Old English prættig tricky, from prætt trick; akin to Old Norse prettr trick

pretty Synonyms

Synonyms
agreeable, blessed (also blest), congenial, darling, delectable, delicious, delightful, delightsome, dreamy, dulcet, enjoyable, felicitous, good, grateful, gratifying, heavenly, jolly, luscious, nice, palatable, pleasing, pleasurable, pleasant, satisfying, savory (also savoury), sweet, tasty, welcome
Antonyms
disagreeable, pleasureless, unpalatable, unpleasant, unwelcome
Related Words
alluring, attractive, desirable, enviable, inviting, relishable, tempting; charming, enchanting, fascinating; calming, comforting, soothing; amusing, diverting, entertaining, recreative; affable, amiable, cheerful, cheery, comfortable, gemütlich, genial, goodly, good-natured, gracious, hospitable, kindly, personable; blissful, felicific, glad, happy, joyous; elating, exhilarating, intoxicating; ecstatic, euphoric, nirvanic, rapturous
Near Antonyms
abominable, ghastly, god-awful, hellish, horrid, miserable, wretched; bilious, disgusting, distasteful, obnoxious, offensive, repellent (also repellant), repugnant, repulsive, revulsive, unsavory, vile, yucky (also yukky); abhorrent, detestable, hateful, odious; boring, commonplace, dull, flat, insipid, irksome, stale, tedious; displeasing, dissatisfying; depressing, disheartening, dismal, dreary, gloomy, heartbreaking, heartrending, joyless, lachrymose, sad, unhappy; deplorable, doleful, dolorous, lamentable, lugubrious, mournful, regrettable, sorrowful, tragic (also tragical); aggravating, annoying, exasperating, irritating, peeving, perturbing, vexing; forbidding; hostile, intimidating; angering, enraging, incensing, inflaming (also enflaming), infuriating, maddening, outraging, rankling, riling; distressing, disturbing, upsetting

Synonym Discussion of pretty

beautiful, lovely, handsome, pretty, comely, fair mean exciting sensuous or aesthetic pleasure. beautiful applies to whatever excites the keenest of pleasure to the senses and stirs emotion through the senses.
    • beautiful mountain scenery
lovely is close to beautiful but applies to a narrower range of emotional excitation in suggesting the graceful, delicate, or exquisite.
    • a lovely melody
handsome suggests aesthetic pleasure due to proportion, symmetry, or elegance.
    • a handsome Georgian mansion
pretty often applies to superficial or insubstantial attractiveness.
    • a painter of conventionally pretty scenes
comely is like handsome in suggesting what is coolly approved rather than emotionally responded to.
    • the comely grace of a dancer
fair suggests beauty because of purity, flawlessness, or freshness.
    • fair of face

2

pretty

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adverb pret·ty \ ˈpri-tē , ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- ; before "near(ly)" often ˈpərt or ˈprit or ˈpru̇t \

Definition of pretty

1 a :in some degree :moderately
  • pretty cold weather
b :quite, mainly
  • the wound was … pretty bad
  • —Walt Whitman
2 :in a gracefully pleasing manner :prettily
  • pop vocalists who can sing pretty
  • —Gerald Levitch
pretty much

Using pretty as an Adverb

Some handbooks complain that pretty is overworked and recommend the selection of a more specific word or advise that pretty should be restricted 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
    • The Times Literary Supplement (London)


Examples of pretty in a Sentence

  1. By taunting the police, beating drums and throwing rocks, the rioters make it pretty clear that they want not a rational debate but the world's attention … —Fareed ZakariaNewsweek30 Apr. 2001
  2. … I could pretty much go wherever I felt a story led … —Roy Blount, Jr.New York Times Book Review9 Mar. 1986
  3. … regards most of us as pretty irrevocably plunged in illusion. —Iris MurdochThe Fire and the Sun1977
  4. The reflected radiance served to show, pretty distinctly, the aspect and arrangement of the room which Hepzibah entered, after descending the stairs. —Nathaniel HawthorneThe House of Seven Gables1851
  5. Did you put the keys on the table? I'm pretty sure I did.

  6. The teams are pretty equally matched.

  7. The work is pretty hard.

  8. I have to leave pretty soon.

  9. The movie was pretty good but not great.

  10. They've accomplished some pretty amazing things.

  11. She was driving pretty fast.

Recent Examples of pretty from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretty


3

pretty

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noun pret·ty \ ˈpri-tē , ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \

Definition of pretty

plural pretties
1 pretties plural :dainty clothes; especially :lingerie
2 :a pretty person or thing

Recent Examples of pretty from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretty


4

pretty

play
verb pret·ty \ ˈpri-tē , ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \

Definition of pretty

prettied; prettying
transitive verb
:to make pretty usually used with up
  • curtains to pretty up the room

Examples of pretty in a Sentence

  1. She prettied the cake with icing, sprinkles, and nuts.

Recent Examples of pretty from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pretty.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of pretty



PRETTY Defined for English Language Learners

pretty

play
adjective

Definition of pretty for English Language Learners

  • : attractive to look at usually in a simple or delicate way

  • : pleasant to look at or listen to

  • : large or impressive


pretty

play
adverb

Definition of pretty for English Language Learners

  • : to some degree or extent but not very or extremely

  • : to a great degree or extent


pretty

play
verb

Definition of pretty for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something) pretty


PRETTY Defined for Kids

1

pretty

play
adjective pret·ty \ ˈpri-tē \

Definition of pretty for Students

prettier; prettiest
:pleasing to the eye or ear especially because of being graceful or delicate
  • a pretty face
  • a pretty tune

prettily

\ˈpri-tə-lē\ adverb

prettiness

\ˈpri-tē-nəs\ noun

2

pretty

adverb

Definition of pretty for Students

:in some degree :fairly
  • pretty good


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