Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: prættig 'tricky', from prætt 'trick'

pretty

2 adjective
     
pretty2 S3 W3 comparative prettier, superlative prettiest
1 a woman or child who is pretty has a nice, attractive face:
a pretty little girl
Maria looks much prettier with her hair cut short.
see usage note beautiful
2 something that is pretty is pleasant to look at or listen to but is not impressive:
a pretty dress
The tune is pretty.
What a pretty little garden!
3

not a pretty sight

very unpleasant to look at - sometimes used humorously:
After a night's drinking, Al was not a pretty sight.
4

not just a pretty face

spoken used humorously to say that someone is intelligent, when people think this is surprising:
I'm not just a pretty face, you know!
5

come to a pretty pass

old-fashioned used to say that a very bad situation has developed:
Things have come to a pretty pass, if you can't say what you think without causing a fight.
6

cost a pretty penny

old-fashioned to cost a lot of money
7

pretty as a picture

old-fashioned very pretty
prettily adverb:
Charlotte sang very prettily.
prettiness noun [uncountable]
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

rather, fairly, quite, pretty
Rather, fairly, quite, and pretty are all used to say that something is true to some degree, but not completely or extremely She's rather shy. You should find the test fairly easy. It took quite a long time (NOT a quite long time). His English is pretty good.Rather is fairly formal but can be used in spoken English, especially British English. In American English it is more usual to use pretty. In both American and British English, pretty is more usual in speech than in writing.Quite can also be used in front of an adjective or adverb, and in British English a verb, to mean 'completely'. This is a fairly formal use You are quite wrong. I quite understand your feelings.See also rather
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

beautiful, pretty, handsome, good-looking, attractive, gorgeous, stunning
beautiful is used to describe someone, usually a woman or child, who is attractive in a very special and noticeable way.pretty is usually used to describe a girl or woman who is good-looking, with regular features. It can also be used to describe a boy or young man who has an attractive but feminine face.handsome is usually used to describe a man or boy who is good-looking, with strong regular features. It can also be used to describe a woman, usually an older woman, who has attractive but masculine features.good-looking can be used to describe anyone who you think is nice to look at. attractive is used to describe someone who looks good in a way that attracts sexual interest I can see he's handsome, but I don't find him very attractive.gorgeous and stunning are emphatic ways of saying that someone is very attractive. Gorgeous is used mostly in spoken English. See also beautiful

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary