Friday, 8 August 2014

Cute - Not Just a Pretty Face

A smiling baby girl wearing a pink ribbon and pearls
Coral - Champion of Cuteness
(photo by Cam Fu)


Adjective. Colloquial. Early 18th century.
[Aphetized from ACUTE.]

1 Clever, keen-witted, shrewd; ingenious. E18

2 Attractive, pretty; quaint, fascinating. E19

Oh no! What's become of Lexicolatry? This is a serious blog about the intricacies of the English lexicon, and here I am showing pictures of cute babies! What next? Kittens? Puppies? Lolcats? Right. Focus. I need to rescue this post. Oh flip! I've just found a picture of a baby hippo ...

A baby hippo
(photo by Tambako)
C'mon! Get it together. Here we go: Cute, meaning 'pretty', is actually quite modern; it developed from acute, meaning 'insightful, shrewd'. This definition has been somewhat superseded by the 'pretty baby' form of cute, but it is still used, as I once learnt to my embarrassment when an Irish girl I liked told me I was "too cute", and then quickly clarified "No, not that type of cute!" when it was clear I had misunderstood. Another thing about cute is ... Whaaaaa! A trio of baby hedgehogs! ...

Three baby hedgehogs
Ahem. One thing that's clear about cute and cuteness is how subjective it is. I actually had a bit of difficulty finding a picture for this post as the internet is awash with pictures tagged 'cute', usually of people's babies, children, pets, etc. The thing is, parents of the world, I hate to break it to you, but not everyone's kids are cute (I'd provide some examples, but that would be in very poor taste indeed); I think there must be some kind of biological function that compels a parent to think their child is cute, which is probably the source of the expression "a face only a mother could love." And don't even get me started on what some pet owners think is cute ...

Two dogs dressed up as princesses
Umm ...
(photo by Pets Adviser) 
Anyway, I've clearly succumbed to the will of the internet, and this post has become a repository of all the photos I've found over the past couple of years that have made me go "Awwwww!" and hate myself at the same time. Except Coral, the baby in the lead picture. That picture is not my style at all - generally, I'm not one for adorning babies in ribbons and pearls and other embellishments. But c'mon! Is that not clearly, undoubtedly, unsubjectively one of the cutest babies in the history of the world ever? Oh no! I don't believe it! There's another one ... 

A newborn baby sleeping in a red and white hat
Awwwwwwwwwww! Stick me in the freezer coz my heart just melted!
(photo by Christopher Allison Photography)
Do please leave your most insightfully cute comments in the .... Whaaa! He's wearing a little hat! ... (ahem) ... box below.


  1. Hedgehog triplets: 'pricklets'.

  2. And cute right after cushy... it's getting so sweet and comfortable here that I might consider showing up in my pj and slippers (pretty much as those "models" in Dailymail when taking kids - kids who are "cute as a button" (button, really?!?! why?) - to school) ahahahah

    But once again you're right, there's a biological function that compels a human parent to think their child is cute - it's called survival.

    If they didn't - and how many shouldn't - the animal in us would take over - when looking to a orangutang one agrees on "the face only a mother could love" - and would probably hurt them (while in animals the looks aren't important, it's the health aspect, in humans it is... sounds weird but so are dressed up dogs and "parents" ordering newborn photo session for their pet. Really! It's dangerous out there.

    Your ahs and ohs might turn into gagging mode if you keep searching. Too much cuteness tends to make us aware how weird are the people traveling in the train with us ahahahah.

    Wishing you a cute day oh too cute one ;),

    1. One of my friend's mum used to say he was "as bright as a button". It was easy to smile and nod when she said that because, being a bit of a thicko, he was (literally) about as bright as a button.

  3. You've probably already seen this, but...

    1. And this is cute?
      Some princess in desesperate need for her nap is cute? :(
      What's cute is her brother's already condescending oh-she's-hormonal smile ahahahah.

      I asked here at home and only the first baby won the cute category among all members. Adults don't think hipo baby is cute. Son thought it could be. Daughter said definetly. Men can't decide a vote for the hedgehogs. And no one thought the last baby was cute (but I think it's the staged look that puts them off). Dogs dressed up aren't cute at all to all members.

      Didn't show Eddie because I'm pretty sure Irish Girls know best ;)

    2. The sleeping baby picture is very staged, which is usually a big no-no for me, but it works! All happy fast asleep in the position he's got used to for the past nine months; his little curled hands; and the red and white woolly hat! You'd have to have a heart of stone to not be moved by that!

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