\ 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)

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 Initially, the plot seems to be set up for Cameron to throw himself a pity party in the most obnoxiously twee way imaginable. Angie Han, The Hollywood Reporter, 14 Mar. 2022 Thinking Ivan’s taste is too decorative, too twee, and too irrelevant is wrong. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 26 Feb. 2022 Often used to decorate twee cocktails or cakes, this glitzy, fine powder has made its way onto all types of savory fare in my kitchen, sprucing up and inspiring what would otherwise be lackluster mid-winter meals. Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner, Bon Appétit, 18 Mar. 2022 Cumming went on to spend ages 13 through 16 performing in Supercute!, a twee-pop group with Trachtenburg — not quite the Beatles, but another step closer to her dream. Simon Vozick-levinson, Rolling Stone, 16 Mar. 2022 For young women, Day’s twee style presented a way to have their cake and eat it, too... literally. Frances Solá-santiago,, 4 Mar. 2022 What, one wonders, can Biden possibly say about his tenure that will not sound ridiculous or twee? Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 25 Feb. 2022 Because — that's right, folks — twee hair is going to sit right down and stay awhile. Nicola Dall'asen, Allure, 21 Feb. 2022 Mira’s twee wildness of spirit is muted by her utter bewilderment. Washington Post, 16 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

17 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Twee.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on twee

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for twee

Nglish: Translation of twee for Spanish Speakers


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