Online Encyclopedia

PRETTY

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V22, Page 311 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PRETTY, a word usually applied in the sense of pleasing in appearance, without connoting those qualities which are described as beautiful or handsome. In Old English praettig meant tricky, cunning or wily, and is thus used to translate the Latin sagax, aslutus, callidus,in a vocabulary of about roo0. Praett meant a trick, and this word is seen in many forms in Dutch, cf. the words prettig, sportive, part, trick. A connexion has been suggested with the Greek srpaicTu.6r, irpa-rrecv, to do, make, through Latin practice, practice, performance; but the New English Dictionary rejects these, as also Celtic sources, as unfounded. From " cunning " to skilful, and thence to its use as a term of general appreciation as is so often used by Pepys, the development is easy.
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