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pretty

/ˈprɪdi/

/ˈprɪti/

Other forms: prettiest; prettier; prettied

Use the word pretty to describe something with a delicate and pleasant appearance. Something that’s pretty is less powerful and intimidating than something that’s beautiful, the way a pretty floral raincoat is less intimidating than a beautiful film star.

The adjective pretty describes things that look nice, but it can also be used jokingly to say that something’s bad. If you say, “That’s a pretty mess you got me into!” that means it’s a bad mess. Pretty has an adverb form that means something is present to a moderate degree, another way to say fairly. You might be pretty sure you’ll be done studying by 9:00. That means you’re fairly certain but not positive.

Definitions of pretty
  1. adjective
    pleasing by delicacy or grace; not imposing
    pretty girl”
    pretty song”
    pretty room”
    Synonyms:
    beautiful
    delighting the senses or exciting intellectual or emotional admiration
  2. adverb
    to a moderately sufficient extent or degree
    pretty big”
    pretty bad”
    synonyms: fairly, jolly, middling, moderately, passably, reasonably, somewhat
    see moresee less
    Antonyms:
    immoderately, unreasonably
    to a degree that exceeds the bounds or reason or moderation
  3. adjective
    (used ironically) unexpectedly bad
    “a pretty mess”
    “a pretty kettle of fish”
    Synonyms:
    bad
    having undesirable or negative qualities
Pronunciation
US

/ˈprɪdi/

UK

/ˈprɪti/

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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘pretty'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Vocabulary.com or its editors. Send us feedback
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