pretty

adjective
pret·​ty | \ ˈpri-tē, ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \
prettier; prettiest

Definition of pretty

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : artful, clever
b : pat, apt
2a : 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
3a : 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

pretty

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

Definition of pretty (Entry 2 of 4)

1a : 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

pretty

noun
pret·​ty | \ ˈpri-tē, ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \
plural pretties

Definition of pretty (Entry 3 of 4)

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

pretty

verb
pret·​ty | \ ˈpri-tē, ˈpər- also ˈpru̇- \
prettied; prettying

Definition of pretty (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to make pretty usually used with up curtains to pretty up the room

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Other Words from pretty

Adjective

prettily \ ˈpri-​tə-​lē , ˈpər-​ also  ˈpru̇-​ \ adverb
prettyish \ ˈpri-​tē-​ish , ˈpər-​ also  ˈpru̇-​ \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for pretty

Adjective

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

Using Pretty as an Adverb: Usage Guide

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

Adjective

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 Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, 1891 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 Austen, Pride and Prejudice, 1813 He made a pretty profit selling his antique car. She received a pretty sum of money.

Adverb

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 Zakaria, Newsweek, 30 Apr. 2001 … I could pretty much go wherever I felt a story led … — Roy Blount, Jr., New York Times Book Review, 9 Mar. 1986 … regards most of us as pretty irrevocably plunged in illusion. — Iris Murdoch, The Fire and the Sun, 1977 The reflected radiance served to show, pretty distinctly, the aspect and arrangement of the room which Hepzibah entered, after descending the stairs. — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of Seven Gables, 1851 “Did you put the keys on the table?” “I'm pretty sure I did.” The teams are pretty equally matched. The work is pretty hard. I have to leave pretty soon. The movie was pretty good but not great. They've accomplished some pretty amazing things. She was driving pretty fast.

Verb

She prettied the cake with icing, sprinkles, and nuts.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Also, the property’s crown jewel is its pool, which has to be one of the prettiest in the world. Jaimie Potters, ELLE Decor, "A Design Lover's Guide to Visiting San Miguel de Allende," 7 Jan. 2019 Kendall Jenner is usually pretty private, especially compared to the rest of her famous fam, but recently she's been opening up a lot more. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Um...Did Harry Styles Write Kendall Jenner This Love Letter?!," 11 Dec. 2018 The Pathless Speaking of Journey, the team who made the vaguely reminiscent underwater adventure Abzu are back with another very pretty game called The Pathless. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "All the big reveals at The Game Awards 2018," 7 Dec. 2018 International relations are normally pretty civil in this little American enclave, but that all changed during the Great Walleye War of the late 1990s. Ken Jennings, Condé Nast Traveler, "This Tiny Minnesota Town Is Completely Surrounded by Canada," 5 Nov. 2018 Use spray glue to stick pretty fabric around the pool noodle (or use white noodles). Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "You Need To See How People Are Upcycling Their Trampolines Into Bed Swings," 18 Sep. 2018 The past few years have been pretty eye-opening for American scientists. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "Cold War propaganda spread the myth that science isn’t political," 11 Dec. 2018 Length: 105 Miles | Region: Northeast Upstate New York thrives in the fall, boasting some of the prettiest foliage in the country and a staggering amount of apple orchards. Juliet Izon, Woman's Day, "The 12 Most Scenic Drives in the Country to Add to Your Bucket List ASAP," 4 Dec. 2018 Mitochondria were already pretty weird parts of our cells, even before this news. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Turns Out Mitochondria Don't Work Like We Thought They Did," 29 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Then again, North Korea has played this pretty well. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The 7 biggest foreign news stories to watch in 2019, from Brexit to North Korea," 24 Dec. 2018 And a Pomo No-Go After protests, Snohetta backs off and will leave Philip Johnson’s AT&T tower pretty much as is (at least on the outside). Mark Lamster, Curbed, "2018 in architecture: The good, the bad, and the urbanism," 27 Dec. 2018 These predictions are pretty much in-line with historical probabilities, according to AccuWeather, so there's no holiday surprises here! Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Dreaming of a White Christmas? Here Are the Chances in Your Area," 22 Dec. 2018 The core reason is pretty simple: Our videos take a ton of work. Joe Posner, Vox, "How to make more Vox Video happen," 17 Dec. 2018 There also is a pretty simple explanation of how the spark plug ended up inside the formation. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "Proof of alien visitors? Artifact from an ancient civilization? The truth is out there — in Seattle," 1 Dec. 2018 Things got pretty sad on Thursday's episode of The View when panelists Whoopi Goldberg, Meghan McCain, Abby Huntsman, Joy Behar, and Sunny Hostin all talked about dealing with internet trolls. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "'The View' Star Abby Huntsman Got “More Hate Than I've Ever Seen” After Joining the Show," 7 Dec. 2018 That’s pretty much the premise of The Good Place right there. Elizabeth Angell, Town & Country, "The Good Place Creator Michael Schur on How He Made Philosophy a Pop Culture Phenomenon," 6 Dec. 2018 But rape isn’t pretty; and unfortunately, there is so much rape in Diana’s books. Sarene Leeds, Glamour, "7 Times Outlander Didn't Follow What Happened in the Book," 3 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

That was 2013 and the beginning of the time when models who weren’t cookie-cutter-pretty were getting booked. Amanda Fitzsimons, Glamour, "Winnie Harlow: ‘It’s Beautiful That the Age of Cookie-Cutter Models Is Ending’," 1 June 2018 For my mom, who still keeps her recipes on index cards, this beyond-pretty box. Meredith Rollins, Redbook, "One Stylish Mother: Cyber Monday Shopping at See Jane Work," 1 Dec. 2013 Pretty late in the game for a free agent to be looking for a new ride. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "'It hurts the sport.' Tony Kaanan explains the cruelty of IndyCar free agency," 14 July 2017 Wick’s Pizza, 12717 Shelbyville Road, 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 18 (Prism Petals); 975 Baxter Ave., 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19 (Pretty Plumes). The Courier-Journal, "50+ fun things for week of July 13-19," 12 July 2017 Pretty says he's known for having a sense of humor on his spots, and people seeing it all over the country wouldn't be aware of that. Luke O'neil, Esquire, "R.I.P., Weather Boi, the Funniest Meme We Barely Got to Know," 29 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Ugly Other games that are not as beautiful Verdict: Lots of stuff to do and pretty things to look at, but few fresh ideas. Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Assassin’s Creed Odyssey," 4 Oct. 2018 One of the ideas envisioned by Vivo is to take in a full body scan of a person and then feed that information to a beautification AI that would more intelligently and proportionately pretty you up. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Vivo’s new face ID tech has 10 times as many sensor points as the iPhone X," 27 June 2018 From have resurrected the game, prettying it up a bit, and will release it in the United States later this year. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "The best PC games of E3 2018," 15 June 2018 Thus, the strategy was designed to produce either a win with virtually no GOP concessions, or a government shutdown that could pretty cleanly be blamed on Democrats. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Ryan’s Strategy May Be Backfiring, Earning GOP Blame for a Government Shutdown," 17 Jan. 2018 But in his mind, a year of prettying up the town (as well as spending about $200,000 of city funds on preparing for and carrying out the event) might pay off in making prospective students aware of the school. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "So, Eclipse Boomtowns, How’d It Go?," 23 Aug. 2017 The reporters picked at it, concerned about getting the facts straight and looking to pretty up their now-public images. Douglas Perry, OregonLive.com, "Trump-Russia probe renews interest in 'All the President's Men,' where the real scandal hit 35 years later," 14 June 2017 First is a look at some of the top games involving area teams in Week 1 of the season (Aug. 18): 1.Center Grove at Warren Central: Pretty easy one to pick here. Kyle Neddenriep, Indianapolis Star, "High school football: 10 games to watch in Week 1 of the season," 26 June 2017 What questions Congress will want to know: Pretty much everything above. Amber Phillips, chicagotribune.com, "Why Jeff Sessions' testimony on Russia is important," 13 June 2017

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.

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First Known Use of pretty

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adverb

1565, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1616, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1868, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pretty

Adjective, Adverb, Noun, and Verb

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

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Statistics for pretty

Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pretty

The first known use of pretty was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for pretty

pretty

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of pretty

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

: pleasant to look at or listen to

: large or impressive

pretty

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of pretty (Entry 2 of 3)

: to some degree or extent but not very or extremely

: to a great degree or extent

pretty

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pretty (Entry 3 of 3)

: to make (something) pretty

pretty

adjective
pret·​ty | \ ˈpri-tē \
prettier; prettiest

Kids Definition of pretty

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from pretty

prettily \ ˈpri-​tə-​lē \ adverb
prettiness \ ˈpri-​tē-​nəs \ noun

pretty

adverb

Kids Definition of pretty (Entry 2 of 2)

: in some degree : fairly pretty good

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More from Merriam-Webster on pretty

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pretty

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pretty

Spanish Central: Translation of pretty

Nglish: Translation of pretty for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pretty for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pretty

What made you want to look up pretty? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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