- 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 for on Thesaurus.com
- the act of a person or thing that sits.
- a period of remaining seated, as in posing for a portrait or reading a book.
- the space on or in which one sits, as in a church.
- a brooding, as of a hen upon eggs; incubation.
- the number of eggs on which a bird sits during a single hatching; clutch.
- a session, as of a court or legislature.
- the time or space allotted to the serving of a meal to a group, as aboard a ship.
- (of a bird) occupying a nest of eggs for hatching.
- of, for, or suited to sitting: a sitting area in the lobby.
- holding an official position or office; occupying an appointed or elected seat; incumbent: a sitting pontiff.
- in session or at work; active: a sitting legislature.
- sitting pretty, in an auspicious position: He's been sitting pretty since he got that new job.
Origin of sitting
- 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
- a continuous period of being seatedI read his novel at one sitting
- such a period in a restaurant, canteen, etc, where space and other facilities are limiteddinner will be served in two sittings
- the act or period of posing for one's portrait to be painted, carved, etc
- a meeting, esp of an official body, to conduct business
- the incubation period of a bird's eggs during which the mother sits on them to keep them warm
- in officea sitting Member of Parliament
- (of a hen) brooding eggs
- seatedin a sitting position
Word Origin and History for sitting pretty
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.).
early 13c., verbal noun from sit (v.). Meaning "a meeting of a body" is from c.1400. Meaning "interval during which one sits" (for some purpose, especially to have one's portrait taken) is from 1706. Sitting-room first recorded 1771. Slang sitting duck "easy target" first recorded 1944; literal sense is from 1867 (it is considered not sporting to shoot at one).
In a favorable position: “Abby finally got that promotion, and now she's sitting pretty.”
Idioms and Phrases with sitting pretty
In an advantageous position; also, financially well off. For example, The terms of the will left Mary sitting pretty. Although the use of pretty in the sense of “advantageous” is much older, this colloquialism dates only from the early 1900s. It was given extra currency as the title of two different musicals, Sittin' Pretty (M. Moore, 1921) and Sitting Pretty (G. Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, 1924).
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