Pronunciation Adverb

quite (not comparable)

  1. (heading) To the greatest extent or degree; completely, entirely.
    1. With verbs, especially past participles. [from 14th c.]
      • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book I:
        Thus when they had the witch disrobed quight, / And all her filthy feature open showne, / They let her goe at will, and wander wayes vnknowne.
      • 2005, Adrian Searle, The Guardian, 4 October:
        Nobuyoshi Araki has been called a monster, a pornographer and a genius - and the photographer quite agrees.
    2. With prepositional phrases and spatial adverbs. [from 15th c.]
      • 1891, Thomas Nelson Page, On Newfound River:
        Margaret passed quite through the pines, and reached the opening beyond which was what was once the yard, but was now, except for a strip of flower-border and turf which showed care, simply a tangle of bushes and briars.
      • 2010, Joanna Briscoe, The Guardian, 30 October:
        Religion and parochial etiquette are probed to reveal unhealthy, and sometimes shockingly violent, internal desires quite at odds with the surface life of a town in which tolerance is preached.
    3. With predicative adjectives. [from 15th c.]
      • 1914, Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Son of Tarzan:
        El Adrea was quite dead. No more will he slink silently upon his unsuspecting prey.
      • 1992, Rudolf M[athias] Schuster, The Hepaticae and Anthocerotae of North America: East of the Hundredth Meridian, volume V, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, page 5:
        In Lejeuneaceae vegetative branches normally originate from the basiscopic basal portion of a lateral segment half, as in the Radulaceae, and the associated leaves, therefore, are quite unmodified.
    4. With attributive adjectives, following an (especially indefinite) article; chiefly as expressing contrast, difference etc. [from 16th c.]
      • 2003, Richard Dawkins, A Devil's Chaplain:
        When I warned him that his words might be offensive to identical twins, he said that identical twins were a quite different case.
      • 2011, Peter Preston, The Observer, 18 September:
        Create a new, quite separate, private company – say Murdoch Newspaper Holdings – and give it all, or most of, the papers that News Corp owns.
    5. Preceding nouns introduced by the indefinite article. Chiefly in negative constructions. [from 16th c.]
      • 1791, James Boswell, Life of Samuel Johnson:
        I ventured to hint that he was not quite a fair judge, as Churchill had attacked him violently.
      • 1920, John Galsworthy, “Timothy Stays the Rot”, in In Chancery, London: William Heinemann, OCLC 312632 ↗, part II, page 212 ↗:
        And with a prolonged sound, not quite a sniff and not quite a snort, he trod on Euphemia's toe, and went out, leaving a sensation and a faint scent of barley−sugar behind him.
    6. With adverbs of manner. [from 17th c.]
      • 2009, John F. Schmutz, The Battle of the Crater: A complete history:
        However, the proceedings were quite carefully orchestrated to produce what seemed to be a predetermined outcome.
      • 2011, Bob Burgess, The Guardian, 18 October:
        Higher education institutions in the UK are, quite rightly, largely autonomous.
  2. (heading) In a fully justified sense; truly, perfectly, actually.
    1. Coming before the indefinite article and an attributive adjective. (Now largely merged with moderative senses, below.) [from 17th c.]
      • 1898, Charles Gavrice, Nell of Shorne Mills:
        "My little plot has been rather successful, after all, hasn't it?" "Quite a perfect success," said Drake.
      • 2001, Paul Brown, The Guardian, 7 February:
        While the government claims to lead the world with its plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the figures tell quite a different story.
    2. With plain adjectives, past participles, and adverbs. [from 18th c.]
      • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803 ↗:
        “My Continental prominence is improving,” I commented dryly. ¶ Von Lindowe cut at a furze bush with his silver-mounted rattan. ¶ “Quite so,” he said as dryly, his hand at his mustache. “I may say if your intentions were known your life would not be worth a curse.”
      • 2010, Dave Hill, The Guardian, 5 November:
        London Underground is quite unique in how many front line staff it has, as anyone who has travelled on the Paris Metro or New York Subway will testify.
    3. Coming before the definite article and an attributive superlative. [from 18th c.]
      • 1910, ‘Saki’, "The Soul of Laploshka", Reginald in Russia:
        Laploshka was one of the meanest men I have ever met, and quite one of the most entertaining.
      • 1923, "The New Pictures", Time, 8 October:
        Scaramouche has already been greeted as the finest French Revolution yet brought to the screen-and even if you are a little weary of seeing a strongly American band of sans-culottes demolish a pasteboard Paris, you should not miss Scaramouche, for it is quite the best thing Rex Ingram has done since The Four Horsemen.
    4. Before a noun preceded by an indefinite article; now often with ironic implications that the noun in question is particularly noteworthy or remarkable. [from 18th c.]
      • 1830, Senate debate, 15 April:
        To debauch the Indians with rum and cheat them of their land was quite a Government affair, and not at all criminal; but to use rum to cheat them of their peltry, was an abomination in the sight of the law.
      • 2011, Gilbert Morris, The Crossing:
        “Looks like you and Clay had quite a party,” she said with a glimmer in her dark blue eyes.
    5. Before a noun preceded by the definite article. [from 18th c.]
      • 1871 July – 1873 February, Anthony Trollope, “The Aspirations of Mr. Emilius”, in The Eustace Diamonds. A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, publishers, […], published 1872, OCLC 1332510 ↗, page 288 ↗, column 1:
        It is quite the proper thing for a lady to be on intimate, and even on affectionate, terms with her favourite clergyman, and Lizzie certainly had intercourse with no clergyman who was a greater favourite with her than Mr. Emilius.
      • 2006, Sherman Alexie, "When the story stolen is your own", Time, 6 February:
        His memoir features a child named Tommy Nothing Fancy who suffers from and dies of a seizure disorder. Quite the coincidence, don't you think?
    6. (now, rare) With prepositional or adverbial phrases. [from 18th c.]
  3. To a moderate extent or degree; somewhat, rather. [from 19th c.]
Synonyms Antonyms Translations Translations Translations Interjection
  1. (chiefly, UK) Indicates agreement; "exactly so".
  • (British) IPA: /ˈkiːteɪ/

quite (plural quites)

  1. (bullfighting) A series of passes made with the cape to distract the bull.

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