adj. pret·ti·er, pret·ti·est
1. Pleasing or attractive in a graceful or delicate way. See Synonyms at beautiful.
2. Clever; adroit: a pretty maneuver.
3. Very bad; terrible: in a pretty predicament; a situation that has reached a pretty pass.
4. Ostensibly or superficially attractive but lacking substance or conviction: full of pretty phrases.
5. Informal Considerable in size or extent: a pretty fortune.
1. To a fair degree; moderately: a pretty good student.
2. In a pretty manner; prettily or pleasingly.
n. pl. pret·ties
1. One that is pretty.
2. pretties Delicate clothing, especially lingerie.
tr.v. pret·tied, pret·ty·ing, pret·tiesIdiom:
To make pretty: pretty up the house.
For the most part; mostly: "The ... matter was pretty much dying down" (John Strahinich).
[Middle English prety, clever, fine, handsome, from Old English prættig, cunning, from prætt, trick.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.