What's in a Word | All Blogs


An acute, cute cat

By Debra Dobbins

Garfield might feel better about being called cute if he knew that the word is an abbreviated form of “acute,” which meant being mentally sharp nearly 300 years ago.

“Cute is a good example of how a shortened form of a word can take on a life of its own, developing a sense that dissociates it from the longer word from which it was derived,” The Free Dictionary* notes. “Cute was originally a shortened form of acute in the sense ‘keenly perceptive or discerning, shrewd.’ In this sense cute is first recorded in a dictionary published in 1731. Probably cute came to be used as a term of approbation for things demonstrating acuteness, and so it went on to develop its own sense of ‘pretty, fetching,’ first recorded with reference to ‘gals’ in 1838.”

*www.thefreedictionary.com/cutely

Illustration special to the Sentinel
 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.




Recent Posts
Lettuce reconsider
By Penny Stine
Friday, May 22, 2015

Freshman year is one for the books
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, May 21, 2015

The List: Keeping kids busy this summer
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Thursday, May 21, 2015

I escaped Target for less than $100!
By Julie Norman
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

What not to do when planting asparagus
By Penny Stine
Wednesday, May 20, 2015


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2015 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy