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English

 
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Etymology

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 describe the pleasing attraction to features usually possessed by the young.

Pronunciation

Adjective

cute (comparative cuter, superlative cutest)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. Mentally keen or discerning; clever; shrewd; see acute.
    • ca. 1850. Anonymous, "Turpin Hero" (broadside ballad, probably originally dating to 18th century)
      Then Turpin being so very cute,
      He hid his money in his boot.
    Cute trick, but can you do it consistently?

Usage notes

Though all the above usages are understood outside US & Canada, they are rarely used spontaneously except to characterise or parody American usage.

Synonyms

  • (having features mainly attributed to infants and small or cuddly animals): endearing
  • (attractive or pleasing in a youthful, dainty, quaint or fun-spirited way): pretty

Derived terms

Translations


Danish

Etymology

Borrowed from English cute.

Adjective

cute

  1. (youthful) cute, adorable
    • 2010, Kirsten Sonne Harild, Pony & Co. 4 - Lises forvandling, Gyldendal A/S (ISBN 9788702096095)
      „De er sådan lidt tegneserieagtige, ikke? Ligesom shetlændere. Cute.
    • 2010, Jesper Staunstrup, At være fremmed..., BoD – Books on Demand (ISBN 9788771141788), page 187
      Dyret er altså bare ikke cute... Det er en stor rottelignende dræber, der er altædende.
  2. (youthful) sweet, attractive (of a person, especially a prospective partner)
    • 2012, Hanne-Vibeke Holst, Hjertets renhed, Gyldendal A/S (ISBN 9788702103397)
      Han er cute. Frederik var rimelig cute.
    • 2014, Ina Bruhn, Maja og Dancer: Hestene på Ponygården 3, Rosinante & Co (ISBN 9788763836562)
      Han hedder Elvin. Er det ikke et totalt cute navn?
    • 2014, Dennis Jürgensen, Hår(d), Tellerup A/S (ISBN 9788758811284)
      Hun var cute, det var hun faktisk, og jeg prøvede desperat ikke at tænke på min isse.
    • 2013, Anders Haahr Rasmussen, Modellen: #dayinthelife, Art People (ISBN 9788771376135)
      Josephine Skriver har tidligere haft problemer med sit runde, cute ansigt og har det for så vidt stadigvæk.

Synonyms


Italian

 
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Etymology

Borrowed from Latin cutis.

Noun

cute f (plural cuti)

  1. (anatomy) Cutis, skin (of a person)

Synonyms

Derived terms


Latin

Noun

cute

  1. ablative singular of cutis

Romanian

Etymology

From Latin cōtem, accusative of cōs. The expected result would have been *coate in Romanian, but may have been influenced by cuțit and ascuți.[1]

Pronunciation

Noun

cute f (plural cute)

  1. whetstone

Synonyms

References

  1. ^ cute in DEX online - Dicționare ale limbii române (Dictionaries of the Romanian language), 2004-2017