"Cute" in German

  • Is there any difference between all the translations of "cute" listed here? It's quite confusing.

    Except the one tagged [ugs] which means colloquial, I'm not sure which one is preferred in which situation:

    niedlich, possierlich, hübsch, süß, nett, herzig, putzig, reizend, aufgeweckt, klug, schnuckelig, pfiffig

  • 0x6d64

    0x6d64 Correct answer

    9 years ago

    IMO there are two basic uses for cute: young animals and humans, or adult humans which you feel attracted to / would like to date.

    I will try and explain the usage of the more common meanings and also give some idea about subtle differences (this may be a little bit subjective).

    • niedlich: cute as in a cute kitten. You would feel a little bit protective about someone which is "niedlich", so this will not be used very often to describe adult men, unless you want to ridicule them and don't take them seriously ("Du willst mir drohen? Wie niedlich!" sneering).

    • possierlich: has some sense of clumsyness, e.g. a newborn duckling which is not yet used to walk and tumbles around. Used mostly with animal, sometimes with newborn humans. Almost never with adults (unless they really act clumsy)

    • hübsch: kind of beautiful. Quite a broad term, can be used in every case.

    • süß: Somewhat similar to niedlich, but maybe a little bit less helpless?

    • nett: nice, likable. This has something to do with character, so this one is used more with adults (as we don't judge the character of animals and babys that often.)

    Another suggestion is to do something what you could call a double dictionary lookup: Look for meanings of "cute", then find English meanings of "niedlich", "süß" and so on. This often gives you some idea about subtle differences.

    +1 for the double dictionary lookup.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM