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I know that the word Bitte can have many different meanings. When translating Bitteschön into English word for word however, it makes no sense at all.

My question thus is where does this expression come from? Why 'Please nice/ Please beautiful'?

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"Pretty please". –  elena Sep 30 '13 at 14:47
@elena is right :) "schön", like "pretty" in English, is not only an adjective that qualifies the beauty of something but also is an intensifier in the sense of "very". That is, "bitte schön" == "bitte sehr". That's all. –  Em1 Sep 30 '13 at 14:54
@Em1 I like the comment. Didn't think of that. I can actually think of several examples of pretty as an intensifier in English. No other German one comes to mind though. –  Michael Frey Sep 30 '13 at 15:29
What about: "Er ist ganz schön verliebt". "Ganz schön frech, der Kleine" "Da hst du mir aber einen schönen Schrecken eingejagt" "Du bist ja schon schön blöd" "Ich musste mich ganz schön anstrengen" –  Em1 Sep 30 '13 at 15:33
Please note: help/privileges/comment --> How to Answer. –  Takkat Sep 30 '13 at 18:11
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2 Answers

Bitteschön is just the logical counterpart of Dankeschön which has derived as short form from Ich danke dir/euch schön, and that means I thank you very much. Schön is an adverb here in the sense of very.

Schön is a typical form of politeness. Examples: Er sollte Sie schön darum bitten / Ich danke Ihnen schön / Ein Dankeschön sagen, or antiqued: Habt (schönen) Dank!.

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Schön does emphasize somthing like very, pretty, and quite (compare also Bitte sehr!)

It is used as such not just in Bitteschön and Dankeschön.

Das war ganz schön abenteuerlich.
eine schöne Summe
Dort ist es schön ruhig.

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