from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Pleasing or attractive in a graceful or delicate way. See Synonyms at beautiful.
  • adj. Clever; adroit: a pretty maneuver.
  • adj. Very bad; terrible: in a pretty predicament; a situation that has reached a pretty pass.
  • adj. Ostensibly or superficially attractive but lacking substance or conviction: full of pretty phrases.
  • adj. Informal Considerable in size or extent: a pretty fortune.
  • adv. To a fair degree; moderately: a pretty good student.
  • adv. In a pretty manner; prettily or pleasingly.
  • n. One that is pretty.
  • n. Delicate clothing, especially lingerie.
  • transitive v. To make pretty: pretty up the house.
  • idiom pretty much For the most part; mostly: "The . . . matter was pretty much dying down” ( John Strahinich).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Somewhat, fairly, quite; sometimes also (by meiosis) very.
  • n. Something that is pretty.
  • v. To make pretty; to beautify

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. 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
  • adj. Moderately large; considerable.
  • adj. Affectedly nice; foppish; -- used in an ill sense.
  • adj. Mean; despicable; contemptible; -- used ironically
  • adj. Stout; strong and brave; intrepid; valiant.
  • adv. In some degree; moderately; considerably; rather; almost; -- less emphatic than very

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Crafty; cunning; clever; shrewd; keen.
  • Strong and bold; warlike; accomplished in arms.
  • Comely; handsome; good-looking; hence, in later use, pleasing to the esthetic sense; attractive through grace, elegance, neatness, harmony of parts, or delicacy of outline or coloring; having delicate beauty; pleasing the eye or ear rather than impressing the mind: as, a pretty face; a pretty cottage; a pretty picture.
  • Hence Affectedly neat or fastidious about one's personal appearance; finical; foppish.
  • Pleasing in general; pleasing to the mind; interesting; entertaining; gratifying.
  • Excellent; good; fine; nice: said loosely, like fine and nice, of almost any object or action as a general term of commendation, and also, like fine and nice, often used ironically, especially in exclamatory sentences.
  • Good or sufficient; moderately large in quantity, number, extent, duration, etc.; considerable.
  • A term of endearment, supplying the place of a diminutive.
  • Synonyms Handsome, Fair, etc. See beautiful.
  • Moderately; reasonably; tolerably: expressing a degree less than very: as, a farm pretty well stocked; pretty good lodgings; I am pretty sure of the fact.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. to a moderately sufficient extent or degree
  • adj. pleasing by delicacy or grace; not imposing
  • adj. (used ironically) unexpectedly bad


Middle English prety, clever, fine, handsome, from Old English prættig, cunning, from prætt, trick.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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  • pleasing by delicacy or grace; not imposing.

    October 31, 2007