\ ˈkyüt How to pronounce cute (audio) \
cuter; cutest

Essential Meaning of cute

1 : having a pleasing and usually youthful appearance What a cute [=adorable] baby! a cute [=pretty] pink dress See More Examplescute puppies She's as cute as a button! [=very cute]Hide
2 chiefly US, informal : attractive in a sexual way Who's that cute [=hot, sexy] guy/girl you were with?
3 chiefly US, informal : clever in an appealing way a cute idea

Full Definition of cute

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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.



Definition of cute (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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Other Words from cute


cutely adverb
cuteness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for cute

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 As for gifting friends and family, a stocking stuffer goes a long way, which is why your gardening friends will love this chic and functional glass watering plant mister, as well as these floral gardening gloves that protect the skin and look cute. Sanah Faroke, Better Homes & Gardens, 11 Oct. 2021 Now showing at the New York Film Festival ahead of an October 22 theatrical release, The French Dispatch is cute but kind of dull. Kyle Smith, National Review, 6 Oct. 2021 Bailey and Ben: These crazy kids get married and are very cute together! Maggie Fremont, Vulture, 30 Sep. 2021 Take Uncle C’s breakfast sandwiches, two of which feature miniature waffles, as cute as scampering piglets on TikTok. Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2021 Disney has a large selection including a very cute Star Wars Ewok outfit (there's plenty of superhero costumes for kids and adults, too). Mike Snider, USA TODAY, 22 Sep. 2021 The baller was a gas to watch, and his plaid green outfit was cute as hell. Lynette Rice,, 21 Sep. 2021 This rustic brown dresser is cute enough to prop up in the living room or entryway, designed with six drawers that's sure to help tidy up any space. Amy Schulman,, 15 Sep. 2021 How cute would this collar look peeking out of a chunky crew-neck sweater? Kristen Philipkoski, Forbes, 31 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the context of today’s smart home, AR technology goes far beyond facilitating cute Snapchat filters or Pokémon GO game sessions. Mark Vena, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 In the cute snap, the infant sits propped up on a chair with a surprised look on his face. Georgia Slater,, 1 Oct. 2021 Lindsay, a baking savant, gets an unexpected big break when movie star Ryan Kwok wanders into her bake shop in a meet cute. Usa Today Staff, USA TODAY, 1 Oct. 2021 Its stiff denim has a decidedly vintage feel, and the brand carries tons of cute, sustainably made pairs—from statement cheetah print to classic straight-leg jeans (hi, Cynthia) that sit a higher on the waist with a hint of stretch for comfort. Talia Abbas, Glamour, 2 Sep. 2021 These are our favorite cute nicknames for boyfriends, from the sweet to the romantic to the utterly ridiculous. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, 27 Aug. 2021 At first, Texas state Rep. Shawn Thierry laughed at the cute photo her mom sent of her 8-year old daughter striking a pose in the dining room of her Houston home. Washington Post, 10 Aug. 2021 Documentary filmmakers capture the daily lives, routines and adventures of a group of Dutch cats — from the cute, to the curious. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 30 May 2021 The country singer's cosmic Nedo minidress is out-of-this-world cute. Anna Moeslein, Glamour, 23 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cute.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cute


circa 1731, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1965, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for cute

Adjective and Noun

short for acute

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Learn More About cute

Dictionary Entries Near cute

cut down



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Statistics for cute

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for cute


\ ˈkyüt How to pronounce cute (audio) \
cuter; cutest

Kids Definition of cute

1 : attractive in looks or actions a cute puppy
2 : clever sense 2 a cute story
3 : clever in a way that annoys Don't be cute with me!

More from Merriam-Webster on cute

Nglish: Translation of cute for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cute for Arabic Speakers


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