Definition for PRET-TY

PRET-TY, a. [prit'ty; Sax. præte, adorned; prætig, sly, crafty; Dan. prydet, adorned; Sw. prydd, id.; W. pryd, comeliness, beauty, also that is present, stated time, hour or season, visage, aspect; prydain, exhibiting presence or an open countenance, beautiful; prydiaw, to represent an object, to record an event, to render seasonable, to set apart a time, to become seasonable. This word seems to be connected with priawd, appropriate, proper, fitting, whence priodi, to render appropriate, to espouse or marry, and priodverç, a bride. Hence it is evident, the radical sense is set, or as we say, set off, implying enlargement.]

  1. Having diminutive beauty; of a pleasing form without the strong lines of beauty, or without gracefulness and dignity; as, a pretty face; a pretty person; a pretty flower. The pretty gentleman is the most complaisant creature in the world. – Spectator. That which is little can be but pretty, and by claiming dignity becomes ridiculous. – Johnson.
  2. Neat and appropriate without magnificence or splendor; as, a pretty dress.
  3. Handsome; neatly arranged or ornamented; as, a pretty flower-bed.
  4. Neat; elegant without elevation or grandeur; as, a pretty tale or story; a pretty song or composition.
  5. Sly; crafty; as, he has played his friend a pretty trick. This seems to be the sense of the word in this phrase, according with the Saxon prætig. And hence perhaps the, phrase, a pretty fellow.
  6. Small; diminutive; in contempt. He will make a pretty figure in a triumph.
  7. Not very small; moderately large; as, a pretty way off. Cut off the stalks of cucumbers immediately after their bearing, close by the earth, and then cast a pretty quantity of earth upon the plant, and they will bear next year before the ordinary time. [Not in use.] – Bacon.

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