\ ˈtwē How to pronounce twee (audio) \

Definition of twee

chiefly British
: affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute, or quaint such a theme might sound twee or cornyThe Times Literary Supplement (London)

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Twee and Baby Talk

Most adults wouldn't be caught dead saying, "Oh, look at the twee little birdie!" but they probably wouldn't be averse to saying: "He went fishing with his dad," "She works as a nanny," or "Hey, buddy, how's it going?" Anyone who uses dad, nanny, or buddy owes a debt to "baby talk," a term used for both the childish speech adults adopt when addressing youngsters and for the speech of small children who are just learning to talk. Twee also originated in baby talk as an alteration of sweet. In the early 1900s, it was a term of affection, but nowadays British speakers and writers—and, increasingly, Americans as well—use twee for things that have passed beyond agreeable and into the realm of cloying.

Examples of twee in a Sentence

The movie was a bit twee for my taste.
Recent Examples on the Web Federal investigators in Philadelphia used twee shopping site Etsy and a host of social media platforms, including Instagram and Vimeo, to nab a massage therapist accused of torching a cop car, according to a federal complaint. Fox News, "Philadelphia police-car torching suspect nabbed by FBI thanks to Etsy page," 18 June 2020 The Black Eyed Pilseung-produced hit marries TWICE hallmarks -- a serotonin-spiking chorus, twee vocals, and an earnest embrace of love -- with sharp retro synths and tempo changes that keep you on your toes. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 100 Greatest K-Pop Songs of the 2010s: Staff List," 25 Nov. 2019 Frankfurt was long pitched as a twee German city like Munich, complete with Christmas market and Ebbelwoi (the rather acidic local apple wine). The Economist, "Frankfurt woos London bankers," 17 Mar. 2018 Maybe to you, Lady Bird’s critical, nearly twee grandiosity is too earnest, too small potatoes, too corny, too feel-good, too… adolescent girl? Esquire, "And the Best Picture Should Be...," 23 Feb. 2018 Authority is in short supply in Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy, a violin concerto in all but name that’s based on Scottish folk songs and sounds twee at best, cheap at worst. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "Philadelphia Orchestra does Scotland with poetic subtlety (and one bagpipe)," 19 Jan. 2018 Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s first encounter with a Buchla 100 modular synthesizer sounds almost too twee to be true. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s The Kid Is One of the Year’s Essential Listens," 8 Dec. 2017 Peter Luger—the legendary Brooklyn steakhouse that despite its location in the manicured heart of Williamsburg hipsterdom has remained a callback to a grittier, less twee New York—is famous for its bacon. Rachel Tepper Paley, Bon Appetit, "Bless This Beautiful Peter Luger's Bacon, the Thickest in the Land," 24 Aug. 2017 The Paisley Underground made room for lots of different sounds: the country twang of the Long Ryders, the post-Velvets skronk of the Dream Syndicate, the twee pop of the Three O'Clock, the proto-Americana garage rock of Green on Red. Peter Margasak, Chicago Reader, "Music / Post No Bills Real Gone Music reissues a moody but largely forgotten Paisley Underground classic from the Rain Parade," 29 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'twee.' 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 twee

1905, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for twee

baby-talk alteration of sweet

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Statistics for twee

Last Updated

27 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Twee.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twee. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for twee

How to pronounce twee (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of twee

chiefly British, informal + disapproving : sweet or cute in a way that is silly or sentimental

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More from Merriam-Webster on twee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twee

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with twee

Nglish: Translation of twee for Spanish Speakers

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