Definition of pretty adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈprɪti//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈprɪti//
    (prettier, prettiest) Attractiveness, Female attractiveness
    jump to other results
  1. 1  (especially of a woman, or a girl) attractive without being very beautiful a pretty face a pretty little girl You look so pretty in that dress! Synonymsbeautifulpretty handsome attractive lovely good-looking gorgeousThese words all describe people who are pleasant to look at.beautiful (especially of a woman or girl) very pleasant to look at:She looked stunningly beautiful that night.pretty (especially of a girl or woman) pleasant to look at:She’s got a very pretty face. Pretty is used most often to talk about girls. When it is used to talk about a woman, it usually suggests that she is like a girl, with small, delicate features.handsome (of a man) pleasant to look at; (of a woman) pleasant to look at, with large strong features rather than small delicate ones:He was described as ‘tall, dark and handsome’.attractive (of a person) pleasant to look at, especially in a sexual way:She’s a very attractive woman.lovely (of a person) beautiful; very attractive:She looked particularly lovely that night. When you describe somebody as lovely, you are usually showing that you also have a strong feeling of affection for them.good-looking (of a person) pleasant to look at, often in a sexual way:She arrived with a very good-looking man.gorgeous (informal) (of a person) extremely attractive, especially in a sexual way:You look gorgeous!attractive or good-looking? If you describe somebody as attractive you often also mean that they have a pleasant personality as well as being pleasant to look at; good-looking just describes somebody’s physical appearance.Patterns a(n) beautiful/​pretty/​handsome/​attractive/​lovely/​good-looking/​gorgeous girl/​woman a(n) beautiful/​handsome/​attractive/​good-looking/​gorgeous boy/​man a(n) beautiful/​pretty/​handsome/​attractive/​lovely/​good-looking face See related entries: Attractiveness, Female attractiveness
  2. 2  (of places or things) attractive and pleasant to look at or to listen to without being large, beautiful or impressive pretty clothes a pretty garden a pretty name
  3. Word OriginOld English prættig; related to Middle Dutch pertich ‘brisk, clever’, obsolete Dutch prettig ‘humorous, sporty’, from a West Germanic base meaning ‘trick’. The sense development ‘deceitful, cunning, clever, skilful, admirable, pleasing, nice’ has parallels in adjectives such as canny, fine, nice, etc.Extra examples She’s very attractive, though not conventionally pretty. ‘I didn’t know you could play the piano.’ ‘I’m not just a pretty face, you know!’ A pretty little girl was standing in the doorway. Lydia—what a pretty name! She’s got a very pretty face. That’s a pretty flower—what’s it called? You should have seen him in his swimming trunks— not a pretty sight!Idioms (old-fashioned) very pretty She’s as pretty as a picture. More Like ThisSimiles in idioms (as) bald as a coot, (as) blind as a bat, (as) bright as a button, (as) bold as brass, as busy as a bee, as clean as a whistle, (as) dead as a/​the dodo, (as) deaf as a post, (as) dull as ditchwater, (as) fit as a fiddle, as flat as a pancake, (as) good as gold, (as) mad as a hatter/​a March hare, (as) miserable/​ugly as sin, as old as the hills, (as) pleased as Punch, as pretty as a picture, (as) regular as clockwork, (as) quick as a flash, (as) safe as houses, (as) sound as a bell, (as) steady as a rock, (as) thick as two short planks, (as) tough as old bootsSee worksheet.
    come to such a pass, come to a pretty pass
    jump to other results
    (old-fashioned or humorous) to reach a sad or difficult state I never thought things would come to such a pass as this. Things have come to a pretty pass when we can’t afford to pay the heating bills!
    (humorous) used to emphasize that you have particular skills or qualities ‘I didn't know you could play the piano.’ ‘I'm not just a pretty face, you know!’ (humorous) not pleasant to look at You should have seen him in his swimming trunks—not a pretty sight! (old-fashioned) a lot of money I bet that cost you a pretty penny.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: pretty