2. The faculty of nice discernment or perception; acumen; keenness; sharpness; sensitiveness; applied to the senses, or the understanding. By acuteness of feeling, we perceive small objects or slight impressions: by acuteness of intellect, we discern nice distinctions. Perhaps, also, he felt his professional acuteness interested in bringing it to a successful close. (Sir W. Scott)
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... 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. Hope that answered that ...
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