pretty, my

pretty, my
   A mother addresses her six-year-old daughter by this term in Gideon Flanish, by Sinclair Lewis. In Opening Night, by Ngaio Marsh, a fairly elderly man uses it to a nineteen-year-old girl. The Oxford English Dictionary mentions that ‘pretty’ has been used in a coaxing or soothing way, especially to children, since the fifteenth century.
   Countless mothers probably still address their babies as ‘my pretty one’, continuing this long oral tradition. ‘My pretty’ is simply a shortened form of such a phrase, or of the ‘my pretty maid’ of the ballad. The plural ‘my pretties’ also occurs, and can be used to men as well as women. ‘Back to work, my pretties,’ says a character in Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer. Such usage may survive in certain dialects, but is certainly not common.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

Игры ⚽ Нужно сделать НИР?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Pretty — Pret ty, a. [Compar. {Prettier}; superl. {Prettiest}.] [OE. prati, AS. pr[ae]ttig, pr[ae]tig, crafty, sly, akin to pr[ae]t, pr[ae]tt, deceit, trickery, Icel. prettugr tricky, prettr a trick; probably fr. Latin, perhaps through Celtic; cf. W.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pretty — [prit′ē] adj. prettier, prettiest [ME prati < OE prættig, crafty < prætt, craft, trick] 1. pleasing or attractive in a dainty, delicate, or graceful way rather than through striking beauty, elegance, grandeur, or stateliness 2. a) fine;… …   English World dictionary

  • pretty — 1. Pretty is used as an adverb with the meaning ‘fairly, moderately’, as in The performance was pretty good / He did pretty much as he liked. The adverb corresponding to the usual meaning of pretty is prettily: She always dresses so prettily. 2.… …   Modern English usage

  • pretty — ► ADJECTIVE (prettier, prettiest) 1) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful. 2) informal used ironically to express displeasure: he led me a pretty dance. ► ADVERB informal ▪ to a moderately high degree; fairly. ► NOUN (pl …   English terms dictionary

  • Pretty — Pret ty, adv. In some degree; moderately; considerably; rather; almost; less emphatic than very; as, I am pretty sure of the fact; pretty cold weather. [1913 Webster] Pretty plainly professes himself a sincere Christian. Atterbury. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pretty — [adj] attractive appealing, beauteous, beautiful, boss*, charming, cheerful, cher*, comely, cute, dainty, darling, delicate, delightful, dishy*, dreamboat*, elegant, eyeful*, fair, fine, foxy*, good looking, graceful, handsome, looker, lovely,… …   New thesaurus

  • pretty — index attractive Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • pretty — bonny, comely, fair, *beautiful, lovely, handsome, good looking, beauteous, pulchritudinous Analogous words: charming, attractive, alluring (see under ATTRACT): dainty, delicate, exquisite (see CHOICE adj) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • pretty — 1 / prIti/ adverb (+ adj/adv) spoken 1 fairly, though not completely: I m pretty sure he ll say yes. | Life on the farm was pretty tough. see rather 2 very: It s pretty hard to see how we ll manage. 3 pretty well also pretty much very nearly;… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • pretty — pret|ty1 W3S2 [ˈprıti] adv [+ adjective/adverb] spoken 1.) fairly or more than a little ▪ I m pretty sure he ll say yes. ▪ She still looks pretty miserable. see usage note ↑rather 2.) very ▪ Dinner at Luigi s sounds pretty good to me …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pretty — pret|ty1 [ prıti ] adverb MAINLY SPOKEN *** 1. ) fairly: My TV s getting pretty old now. Todd looks pretty tired. 2. ) very: The weather is pretty awful, isn t it? pretty good: I can see they ve done a pretty good job of it. pretty much/well/near …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”