cute

1 of 2

adjective

cuter; cutest
1
a
: clever or shrewd often in an underhanded manner
" … he's a true patriot and statesman … and a most particular cute lawyer."Thomas Chandler Haliburton
b
: impertinent, smart-alecky
Don't get cute with me.
2
: attractive or pretty especially in a childish, youthful, or delicate way
a cute puppy
a cute smile
3
: obviously straining for effect
The movie's too cute to be taken seriously.
cutely adverb
cuteness noun

cute

2 of 2

noun

: the quality or state of being cute or cutesy
also : an instance of cuteness or cutesiness
usually used in plural
a movie suffering from a case of the cutes

Did you know?

The Unlikely Evolution of Cute

Cute is a word whose meaning has gone has gone through a thorough historical transformation. There is no argument about cute’s derivation: it is a shortening of acute (and was sometimes actually spelled ‘cute). Acute has meant “clever, shrewd” since Shakespeare’s time and has had a set of other meanings as well, but it has never been defined as “attractive or pretty.” The contraction cute first appears in the early 18th century, but only a century later does it begin to take on its distinctive modern meaning; even after 1900 children were still being called cute as a compliment to their intelligence. (Compare the contemporaneous word cunning, with its strikingly similar ambiguity.) A few years into the century, we start to see the word—finally!—in descriptions of puppies and kittens. But the original sense hasn’t completely vanished; in such sentences as “Don’t get cute with me,” cute has nothing to do with adorable sweetness.

Examples of cute in a Sentence

Adjective she's very nice, but she's not afraid to get cute when there's something she wants we're having a serious discussion here, so cut the cute remarks
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
From cute sparklers to more impressive displays of light, consumers will have various choices depending on their preferences. Raphael Romero Ruiz, The Arizona Republic, 20 June 2024 Just hours before Timberlake’s arrest, Biel shared a cute Instagram post of he and their two children. Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News, 19 June 2024
Noun
How friggin' cute is that? Marci Robin, Allure, 16 June 2022 This is high-octane cute. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, 25 Aug. 2021 See all Example Sentences for cute 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective and Noun

short for acute

First Known Use

Adjective

circa 1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1965, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of cute was circa 1731

Dictionary Entries Near cute

Cite this Entry

“Cute.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cute. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

cute

adjective
ˈkyüt
cuter; cutest
1
: clever sense 3, shrewd
they're not cute enough to fool me
2
: attractive especially in looks or actions
a cute baby
a cute outfit
3
a
: clever in an appealing way
a cute idea
b
: wise sense 3
don't get cute with me
cutely adverb
cuteness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on cute

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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