A lovable metaphor: On the affect, language and design of ‘cute’ | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 2051-7084
  • E-ISSN: 2051-7092



Approaching the cute object as a metaphor for the lovable, this article provides a survey of the different approaches to the study of cuteness and uses their intersections to map out a three-domain approach that incorporates the dimensions of affect, language and design. When considered in isolation, these domains highlight specific facets of cuteness, but their intersection underscores an important etymological tension that continuously transforms the metaphors of cuteness. These changes do not compromise the primary meaning of cuteness, but lead to a reinvention of the lovable, whereby the cute object continues to represent an abstraction of a particularly affectionate connection to the other. Therefore, the arguments presented will demonstrate that the notion of cuteness emerges through a particular etymological tension embedded in the idea of ‘cuteness’ that reifies aesthetic concepts through the relationship between the individual’s affective experience and the operation of language through culture.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): aesthetics; affect; character design; cuteness; language; metaphor
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error