"pretty" in sports use?

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Jul 10 15:55:50 UTC 2006

My WAG is that the AS definition is an error.


Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: Jesse Sheidlower
Subject: "pretty" in sports use?

I'm looking over some OED senses of _pretty_, which is very
complicated. One of them is more or less 'worthy; admirable;
splendid', and one of our latest solid quotes for this is:

1938 _Amer. Speech_ (13) 6/2 _Pretty_...good; fine; excellent.
'He was a real pretty ball player.'

There are plenty of recent quotes for things like _pretty player_
or _pretty shooter_ (which could be parsed as 'skillful; able',
perhaps, solving another postdating problem), but my tendency
would have been to regard the AS sense as obsolete, and to read
modern examples of _pretty player/shooter_ as meaning 'graceful'
or 'elegant', thus going with other senses.

Anyone who knows about sports want to clue me in?

Jesse Sheidlower

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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