American Dictionary of the English Language

Dictionary Search


PRETTY, adjective prit'ty.

1. Having diminutive beauty; of a pleasing form with the strong lines of beauty, or without gratefulness and dignity; as a pretty face; a pretty person; a pretty flower.

The pretty gentleman is the most complaisant creature in the world.

That which is little can be but pretty and by claiming dignity becomes ridiculous.

2. Neat and appropriate without magnificence or splendor; as a pretty dress.

3. Handsome; neatly arranged or ornamented; as a pretty flower bed.

4. Neat; elegant without elevation or grandeur; as a pretty tale or story; a pretty song or composition.

5. Sly; crafty; as, he has played his friend a pretty trick. This seems to be the sense of the word in this phrase, according with the Saxon proetig. And hence perhaps the phrase, a pretty fellow.

6. Small; diminutive; in contempt. He will make a pretty figure in a triumph.

7. Not very small; moderately large; as a pretty way off.

Cut off the stalks of cucumbers immediately after their bearing, close by the earth, and then cast a pretty quantity of earth upon the plant, and they will bear next year before the ordinary time. [Not in use.]

PRETTY, adverb prit'ty. In some degree; tolerably; moderately; as a farm pretty well stocked; the colors became pretty vivid; I am pretty sure of the fact; the wind is pretty fair. The English farthing is pretty near the value of the American cent. In these and similar phrases, pretty expresses less than very.

The writer pretty plainly professes himself a sincere christian.