Difference Between Pretty and Beautiful

Pretty vs Beautiful

Pretty and Beautiful often go in the same direction in expressing appreciation thus making it difficult to state the difference between them. In the English language, there are many other words too for the purpose of expressing appreciation. It is difficult to state the difference of one from another as the boundaries of them are rather overlapping.  When speaking of the two words beautiful and pretty the same rules apply. However, in order to identify the differences one can refer to beautiful as pleasing the senses whereas pretty refers to attractive in a delicate or endearing way. This article attempts to highlight the difference between the two words through a description of the words. Both pretty and beautiful are adjectives.

What does Beautiful mean?

Beautiful can be defined as pleasing the sense or else excellent. We often associate the word beautiful not only for people but also for objects as well. When speaking of individuals, we use it for women and also for girls. For example:

She looks absolutely beautiful in that dress.

This suggests that the woman is very attractive and pleasant to look at. It also suggests a sense of beauty that transcends mere physicality and even includes the woman’s personality. However, it is also interesting to bear in mind that we rarely use beautiful for men. Instead of the word beautiful we tend to use the word handsome when referring to men.

The word beautiful is also used to refer to other objects to express that it is pleasant. For example, when we say, the scenery looks breathtakingly beautiful, this once again highlight s that it pleases the sense and is wonderful to look at. If we say ‘her performance was beautiful’ this suggests that the performance was very good or else excellent. So the word beautiful can be used in different situations to refer to different objects and people.

Difference Between Pretty and Beautiful

“A Beautiful Scenery”

What does Pretty mean?

Just as the word beautiful, the word pretty is also used to appreciate the beauty of someone or something. It can be defined as attractive in a delicate way. We tend to use the word pretty mostly with young girls and babies, rather than with women. For an example:

Have you seen that girl? She looks really pretty.

This suggests that the person looks attractive but unlike in the case of beautiful, it is more delicate and does not capture the real essence of beauty. If the word pretty is used for a woman, this suggests that she is attractive but cannot be considered as truly beautiful.

We also use the word pretty for accessories and similar objects. For example, if some one says:

That blue necklace is really pretty.

This suggests that it looks nice. We can also use the word pretty for other accessories such as bangles, earrings, etc.

Difference Between Pretty and Beautiful_Pretty-Example

“This blue necklace is really pretty”

What is the difference between Pretty and Beautiful?

• The word beautiful can be defined as pleasing the sense or else excellent.

• The word pretty can be defined as attractive in a delicate way.

• The difference is that while beautiful captures the meaning of beauty not only in terms of physical appearance but an overall sense of pleasing nature, the word pretty suggests a sense of attractiveness, which is rather delicate and not to the same degree as in beautiful.


Images Courtesy: 

  1. Beautiful scenery by Emily Ami Anita Mu (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Blue Necklace by Etsy