[ prit-ee ]
See synonyms for: prettyprettiedprettierprettiest on

adjective,pret·ti·er, pret·ti·est.
  1. pleasing or attractive to the eye, as by delicacy or gracefulness: a pretty face.

  2. (of things, places, etc.) pleasing to the eye, especially without grandeur.

  1. pleasing to the ear: a pretty tune.

  2. pleasing to the mind or aesthetic taste: He writes pretty little stories.

  3. (often used ironically) fine; grand: This is a pretty mess!

  4. Informal. considerable; fairly great: This accident will cost him a pretty sum.

  5. Archaic or Scot. brave; hardy.

noun,plural pret·ties.
  1. Usually pretties. pretty ornaments, clothes, etc.

  2. a pretty person: Sit down, my pretty.

  1. fairly or moderately: Her work was pretty good.

  2. quite; very: The wind blew pretty hard.

  1. Informal. prettily.

verb (used with object),pret·tied, pret·ty·ing.
  1. to make pretty; improve the appearance of (sometimes followed by up): to pretty oneself for a party;to pretty up a room.

Idioms about pretty

  1. sitting pretty, Informal.

    • in an advantageous position.

    • well-to-do; successful.

Origin of pretty

First recorded before 1000; Middle English prati(e), pratte, prettie “cunning, gallant, fine, handsome, pretty”; Old English prættig, prettī “cunning,” derivative of prǣtt “a trick, wile”; cognate with Dutch part, pret “trick, prank,” Old Norse prettr “trick,” prettugr “tricky”

usage note For pretty

The qualifying adverb pretty, meaning “fairly or moderately” has been in general use since the late 16th century. Although most common in informal speech and writing, it is far from restricted to them, and often is less stilted than alternatives such as relatively, moderately, and quite.

Other words for pretty

Opposites for pretty

Other words from pretty

  • pret·ti·ly, adverb
  • pret·ti·ness, noun
  • pret·ty·ish, adjective
  • un·pret·ti·ly, adverb
  • un·pret·ti·ness, noun
  • un·pret·ty, adjective

Words Nearby pretty Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pretty in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pretty


/ (ˈprɪtɪ) /

adjective-tier or -tiest
  1. pleasing or appealing in a delicate or graceful way

  2. dainty, neat, or charming

  1. commendable; good of its kind: he replied with a pretty wit

  2. informal, often ironic excellent, grand, or fine: here's a pretty mess!

  3. informal lacking in masculinity; effeminate; foppish

  4. Scot vigorous or brave

  5. an archaic word for elegant

  6. a pretty penny informal a large sum of money

  7. sitting pretty informal well placed or established financially, socially, etc

nounplural -ties
  1. a pretty person or thing

  1. informal fairly or moderately; somewhat

  2. informal quite or very

verb-ties, -tying or -tied
  1. (tr often foll by up) to make pretty; adorn

Origin of pretty

Old English prættig clever; related to Middle Low German prattich obstinate, Dutch prettig glad, Old Norse prettugr cunning

Derived forms of pretty

  • prettily, adverb
  • prettiness, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with pretty


In addition to the idioms beginning with pretty

  • pretty as a picture
  • pretty much
  • pretty penny, a

also see:

  • in a fix (pretty pickle)
  • kettle of fish, pretty
  • sitting pretty

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.