a. Attractive or pretty in a youthful or dainty way: a cute puppy; a child wearing a cute outfit.
b. Sexually attractive; good-looking: a cute boyfriend.
- Obviously contrived to charm; precious: “[He] mugs so ferociously he kills the humor—it's an insufferably cute performance” ( David Ansen )
- Clever or witty, especially in an impertinent or evasive way, as in falsely suggesting that one is ignorant about the matter at hand.
Origin of cute
Short for acute
Related Forms:Word History: Cute
was originally a shortened form of acute
in the sense “keenly perceptive or discerning, shrewd.” In this sense cute
is first recorded in a dictionary published in 1731. Probably cute
came to be used as a term of approbation for things demonstrating acuteness or ingenious design, and so it went on to develop its own sense of “pretty, fetching.”
(comparative cuter, superlative cutest)
- Possessing physical features, behaviors, personality traits or other properties that are mainly attributed to infants and small or cuddly animals; e.g. fair, dainty, round, and soft physical features, disproportionately large eyes and head, playfulness, fragility, helplessness, curiosity or shyness, innocence, affectionate behavior.
- Our reaction to cute attributes is understood as the way nature ensures mammals care for their young.
- Generally, attractive or pleasing, especially in a youthful, dainty, quaint or fun-spirited way.
- Let's go to the mall and look for cute girls.
- Emma is so damn cute.
- Affected or contrived to charm; mincingly clever; precious; cutesy.
- The actor's performance was too cute for me. All that mugging to the audience killed the humor.
- Don't get cute with me, boy!
- Mentally keen or discerning; clever; shrewd; see acute.
- Cute trick, but can you do it consistently?
Shortened from acute, originally “keenly perceptive or discerning, shrewd” (1731). Meaning transferred to “pretty, fetching” by US students (slang) c.1834. Meaning drifted further to associate specifically with the pleasing attraction to features usually possessed by the young.