adjective, pret·ti·er, pret·ti·est.
noun, plural pret·ties.
verb (used with object), pret·tied, pret·ty·ing.
- in an advantageous position.
- well-to-do; successful.
Origin of pretty
Examples from the Web for prettily
Lloyd Morgan has prettily likened the vital processes to the periodic formation and discharge of explosive substances.On Germinal Selection as a Source of Definite Variation|August Weismann
Here then were near two hundred acres, environed by the Rhine, prettily disposed in wood and meadow, absolutely at our mercy.A Residence in France|J. Fenimore Cooper
My own last, precisely, has been doing for you all you so prettily mention.The Golden Bowl|Henry James
The city lies to the left, below you, and the towers rise so prettily—precisely as in a picture.Music-Study in Germany|Amy Fay
It is prettily decorated inside by delicately stained windows, and has a small but fine organ.Fair Italy, the Riviera and Monte Carlo|W. Cope Devereux
British Dictionary definitions for prettily
adjective -tier or -tiest
noun plural -ties
verb -ties, -tying or -tied
Word Origin for pretty
Word Origin and History for prettily (1 of 4)
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.
Word Origin and History for prettily (2 of 4)
Word Origin and History for prettily (3 of 4)
"a pretty person or thing," 1736, from pretty (adj.).
Idioms and Phrases with prettily
In addition to the idioms beginning with pretty
- pretty as a picture
- pretty much
- pretty penny, a
- in a fix (pretty pickle)
- kettle of fish, pretty
- sitting pretty