American Dictionary of the English Language

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PERT'NESS, noun Briskness; smartness.

1. Sauciness; forward promptness or boldness; implying less than effrontery or impudence.

Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer.

2. Petty liveliness; sprightliness without force, dignity or solidity.

There is in Shaftsbury's works a lively pertness and a parade of literature.