Usage note Usage note In British English, usingquitesuggests you are not very enthusiastic about something. In American English,quiteis 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 sayIt was quite goodand you put the emphasis on thequite, 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 likeimpossibleorunacceptable, it meanscompletely, and you put the emphasis on it. In American English, the emphasis is always on the adjective that goes withquite.WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE: rather, fairly, quite, prettyRather, 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.Quitecan 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 alsorather
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.