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Cutesy

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  • The recent American coinage cutesy may at first seem like an unnecessary variant of the adjective cute, but it’s actually a useful word. Things that are cute are often unintentionally so, and cuteness’s effect on observers is usually pleasurable. Cutesiness, in contrast, is deliberately and cloyingly cute, and the result is not pleasurable for observers. Cuteness is usually okay. Cutesiness is annoying.

    Examples

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    China plans a theme park to celebrate Hello Kitty, the cutesy cat with no mouth but a cult-like following. [Wall Street Journal]

    Had Robin Williams or Tom Hanks taken the role, the cutesiness would be unbearable. [New York Daily News]

    But among the cutesy, sensitive love songs there were a few great tracks that even the boyfriends could digest. [Vancouver Sun]

    [N]o matter how cutesily they’re drawn, after all, we’re still dealing with the embodiments of Death, Destruction, and so on. [Chud]

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