- pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness: a pretty face.
- (of things, places, etc.) pleasing to the eye, especially without grandeur.
- pleasing to the ear: a pretty tune.
- pleasing to the mind or aesthetic taste: He writes pretty little stories.
- (often used ironically) fine; grand: This is a pretty mess!
- Informal. considerable; fairly great: This accident will cost him a pretty sum.
- Archaic or Scot.. brave; hardy.
- Usually pretties. pretty ornaments, clothes, etc.
- a pretty person: Sit down, my pretty.
- fairly or moderately: Her work was pretty good.
- quite; very: The wind blew pretty hard.
- Informal. prettily.
- to make pretty; improve the appearance of (sometimes followed by up): to pretty oneself for a party; to pretty up a room.
- sitting pretty, Informal.
- in an advantageous position.
- well-to-do; successful.
Origin of pretty
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for prettier
It helped me look in the mirror and feel younger and prettier.The Unsinkable Lee Grant Sets the Record Straight
July 23, 2014
After all, why would you want to read in a longer and prettier form something that's already been published?A Brief Meditation on Blogging
May 21, 2013
The whole thing is a substantive sop to the GOP right wing wrapped in a prettier package.The New GOP Ploy Is Way More Radical
January 23, 2013
“[The] overwhelming pressure to be thinner, prettier, and sexier begins subtly,” she says on her website.Livestrong’s Trademark Bullying Record Revealed
March 5, 2012
The shorter your skirt was and the prettier you were, the more they wanted you in front of the client.Ginger White on Herman Cain's Exit, His Arrogance—and Her Sex Claims
December 5, 2011
But thou art a pretty lad, and the prettier for thy modest ways.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Mr. Cairnduff had told him that Belfast girls were prettier than London girls.The Foolish Lovers
St. John G. Ervine
She had grown since I saw her last, and was prettier than ever.Wilfrid Cumbermede
Not a prettier shoe could be seen on the Boulevards, and scarce one so small.
She was pretty when a baby and prettier still as a schoolgirl.Kent Knowles: Quahaug
Joseph C. Lincoln
- pleasing or appealing in a delicate or graceful way
- dainty, neat, or charming
- commendable; good of its kindhe replied with a pretty wit
- informal, often ironic excellent, grand, or finehere's a pretty mess!
- informal lacking in masculinity; effeminate; foppish
- Scot vigorous or brave
- an archaic word for elegant
- a pretty penny informal a large sum of money
- sitting pretty informal well placed or established financially, socially, etc
- a pretty person or thing
- informal fairly or moderately; somewhat
- informal quite or very
- (tr often foll by up) to make pretty; adorn
Word Origin and History for prettier
Old English prættig (West Saxon), pretti (Kentish), *prettig (Mercian) "cunning, skillful, artful, wily, astute," from prætt, *prett "a trick, wile, craft," from West Germanic *pratt- (cf. Old Norse prettr "a trick," prettugr "tricky;" Frisian pret, Middle Dutch perte, Dutch pret "trick, joke," Dutch prettig "sportive, funny," Flemish pertig "brisk, clever"), of unknown origin.
Connection between Old English and Middle English words is uncertain, but if they are the same, meaning had shifted by c.1400 to "manly, gallant," and later moved via "attractive, skillfully made," to "fine," to "beautiful in a slight way" (mid-15c.). Ironical use from 1530s. For sense evolution, compare nice, silly. Also used of bees (c.1400). "After the OE. period the word is unknown till the 15th c., when it becomes all at once frequent in various senses, none identical with the OE., though derivable from it" [OED].
Meaning "not a few, considerable" is from late 15c. With a sense of "moderately," qualifying adjectives and adverbs, since 1560s. Pretty please as an emphatic plea is attested from 1902. A pretty penny "lot of money" is first recorded 1768.
"a pretty person or thing," 1736, from pretty (adj.).