Ladies, what does "cute" mean?

In the context of shoes, handbags, dresses, etc.?

I can only speak for myself, but “cute” is only used when the clothes, shoes, etc., are for a child 6 or under.

It means sort of pretty, but not the greatest.

So when a woman tells another woman that her shoes are “sooo cute!” it’s kind of a back-handed compliment?

I’m not a lady, but I’m guessing the inflection with which it’s said is key to understanding the meaning.

Kind of like the word “dude.”

No. Well, I guess almost anything could be a backhanded compliment, but I wouldn’t take it that way unless I had reason to believe the woman was being sarcastic.

I’d say that “cute” basically means “pretty” but carries the connotation that the item is small and/or colorful and isn’t particularly formal or elaborate. This often but not always means the item isn’t very expensive. Calling something like a diamond ring “cute” probably would seem rather insulting, as a small diamond is a cheap diamond, but a cute pair of shoes can cost plenty of money. There’s also nothing shameful about having a pair of shoes that are cute and cheap.

To me in that context cute = pleasant to look at.

It means it’s attractive but not intimidating.


“Your (item/hairdo) is really/so cute!” = generic expression of liking something, generally used as positive social interaction, see also, “I really like your (item/hairdo)!” Anything more praising probably means that the person truly is interested in how to get something similar.

If “cute” is said flatly it’s dismissive, same if said sharply (add more judgement on, then).

But generally if it’s said in a positive way, then it’s a generically pleasant praising of the item.

My daughter is 17. Everydamnthing is cute.

Doggie in park = cute!
Kiddies in pool = cute!
Shoes = cute!
Clothes = cute!
Boys = SOOO cute!

Her meter is calibrated to two settings: Sucks or Cute. That’s it.

I long for the binary simplicity of that age.

Sooooo cute means that the shoes look great and the person saying so likely wishes they had a pair of their own. Super cute is even better. Omgsocute means the shoes are to die for. I have about 150 pairs of shoes. The ones that are not super cute are otherwise classified as smokin’ hot or fierce. “Great” as in “those are such great shoes” or “God, those are great shoes” can also be used interchangeably with cute when referencing shoes, clothing, handbags, or just overall style.

No, it means the shoes are really, really cute. Oh, I’m not supposed to use the word in its definition? Okay, that means they look nice and fashionable. Also, having read QuickSilver’s post, I just might be a 17 year old girl, because things I like – dogs, shoes, hairdos, boys – are routinely described as cute, and if we’re really dealing with something, super cute. In my defense, I never say “adorbs,” and even if I were to sink so low, I would never preface it with “totes.”

Aesthetically pleasing in a light, colorful or whimsical way. As opposed to say, elegant which would be pleasing in a dignified and somber way or glamorous which would be pleasing in a dazzling and reflective sort of way.

See, in the context of guys, I always thought it meant: You’re attractive, but not quite attractive enough that I want to fuck you. :smiley:

I have yet to sink to the level of “totes adorbz” but when I see a cute puppy I am guilty of saying things like “squuueeeee so flooooofeh!!” and then my boyfriend turns away and pretends he doesn’t know me.

That word varies for guys, too. Plain “cute” (said short and with disinterest) is that his looks are at least vaguely attractive but there is no attraction present. “Cuuuute” (not squeaked but said in a lower tone of voice) means that she is attracted. “Cuuuuute” said in a high tone of voice means that:

  • he is a member of a boy band
  • she is prepubescent (see also: previous option)
  • he is a puppy

I don’t often use the word “cute” to describe clothing or fashion accessories. When I say a person is “cute”, I usually mean that they’re charming. I reserve the word “hot” to mean that someone’s good-looking.

Can I laugh here? (I promise to do it quietly.)

“Cute” for me means an item of apparel that is attractive and looks fun to wear because of that attractiveness.

It’s not a backhanded compliment, at least from me.

I… probably have used “totes adorbs,” though in my defense, I would have been talking to a woman in her early twenties and we both would have laughed about it! (Okay, so we were both laughing at me, but still.)

I say “that’s cute!” for casual clothing with a cheerful flare. I say “that’s sharp!” when I’m channeling my mother and it’s a more serious outfit, like a business suit.