adjective Regional Our Living Language
The regionalism purty
is a classic example of metathesis, a linguistic process in which two adjacent sounds are reversed in order. Metathesis in English often involves the consonant r
and a vowel, since the phonetic properties of r
are so vowellike. For example, the word third
used to be thrid,
and bird, brid.
By the same process, English pretty
often came to be realized as purty
in regional speech. Most such words stabilized because of the influence of printing and the resultant standardized spelling, but purty
has survived in regional American dialects.
(comparative purtier, superlative purtiest)
- (informal) Eye dialect spelling of pretty.