[Ads-l] "pretty much" in 1711 used the way we still use it

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 23 22:18:32 UTC 2023

The feeling I get is that the 1711 "pretty much" is rather more emphatic
than its modern use.

Nowadays it means something like "more or less" or "rather nearly," while
the early example sounds to me like "quite or very much."


On Fri, Jun 23, 2023 at 5:36 PM Stanton McCandlish <smccandlish at gmail.com>

> I've been reading a lot of Victorian and earlier works while I overhaul the
> "Tartan" article at Wikipedia, and I keep running into early use of turns
> of phrase that one might think to be very modern. A good example is this:
> *The Present State of Scotland*, 2nd ed. 1711: "[Plaids] have of late been
> pretty much fancy'd in England ...; so that Attempts have been made in
> England to resemble them, at Norwich and elsewhere, but they fall much
> short [of the Scottish Highland originals] both [sic] in Colour, Fineness,
> and Workmanship, as is evident at first sight."
> It would be even earlier than 1711 if it appeared in the 1st ed.
> Quoted in D. W. Stewart Old and Rare Scottish Tartans (1893), p. 29
> https://digital.clarkart.edu/digital/collection/p16245coll1/id/49864
> I have not seen a facsimile of the 1711 original.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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