Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Origin: quit, quite 'free of' (13-19 centuries), from Old French quite; QUIT

quite

predeterminer, adverb
     
quite S1 W1
1 especially American English very, but not extremely [↪ pretty]:
The food in the cafeteria is usually quite good.
His hair is quite thin on top now.
Amy's at college, and she's doing quite well.
quite a something
He's quite a good soccer player.
! Quite goes before, not after, a or an: quite a short time (NOT a quite short time)see usage note rather
2 especially British English fairly, or to a small extent, but not very [↪ pretty]:
The film was quite good, but the book was much better.
I got a letter from Sylvia quite recently.
quite like/enjoy
I quite like Chinese food.
3

quite a lot/bit/few

a fairly large number or amount:
He's got quite a lot of friends.
Quite a few towns are now banning cars from their shopping centres.
4 [+ adjective/adverb] British English completely:
I'm sorry. That's quite impossible.
What she's suggesting is quite ridiculous!
I think you've had quite enough to drink already!
That's quite a different matter.
5

not quite

not completely:
They weren't quite ready so we waited in the car.
I'm not quite sure where she lives.
Dinner's almost ready, but not quite.
6

not quite why/what/where etc

not exactly why, what, where etc:
The play wasn't quite what we expected.
7

quite a something/quite some something

British English used before a noun to emphasize that something is very good, large, interesting etc:
That was quite a party you had.
The engines make quite a noise.
It's quite some distance away.
8

quite a/some time

especially British English a fairly long time:
We've been waiting for quite some time now.
9

quite right

British English used to show that you agree strongly with someone:
'I refuse to do any more work.' 'Quite right. They can't expect you to work for nothing.'
10

that's quite all right

British English used to reply to someone that you are not angry about something they have done:
'I'm sorry we're so late.' 'That's quite all right.'
11

quite/quite so

British English formal used to show that you agree with what someone is saying [= exactly]:
'They really should have thought of this before.' 'Yes, quite.'
12

quite something

especially British English used to say that someone or something is very impressive:
It's quite something to walk out on stage in front of 20,000 people.
Usage note Usage note

In British English, using quite suggests you are not very enthusiastic about something. In American English, quite is a stronger way of qualifying an adjective. In both British and American English, the way you say the word is important. In British English, if you say It was quite good and you put the emphasis on the quite , you mean it was good, but not very good. If you put the emphasis on good , you mean it was very good. In British English, when it is used with adjectives like impossible or unacceptable , it means completely , and you put the emphasis on it. In American English, the emphasis is always on the adjective that goes with quite .
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

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