- 1 to some extent; fairly I'm pretty sure I'll be going. The game was pretty good. It's pretty hard to explain. I'm going to have to find a new apartment pretty soon. Which Word?quite / fairly / rather / prettyLook at these examples: The exam was fairly difficult. The exam was quite difficult. The exam was rather difficult. Quite is a little stronger than fairly, and rather is a little stronger than quite. Rather is not very common in North American English; pretty has the same meaning and this is used in informal British English too:The exam was pretty difficult. In British English quite has two meanings:I feel quite tired today(= fairly tired). With adjectives that describe an extreme state (‘non-gradable’ adjectives) it means ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’:I feel quite exhausted. With some adjectives, both meanings are possible. The speaker’s stress and intonation will show you which is meant:Your essay is ˈquite good(= fairly good—it could be better);Your essay is quite ˈgood(= very good, especially when this is unexpected). In North American English quite usually means something like ‘very’, not ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’. Pretty is used instead for this sense.
- 2 very That performance was pretty impressive. Things are looking pretty good! Word Origin Old English prættig; related to Middle Dutch pertich
(informal) almost; almost completely One dog looks pretty much like another to me. He goes out pretty well every night. The first stage is pretty near finished.