In Japanese, “かわいい” (kawaī) means “cute,” and “かっこいい” (kakkoī) means “cool.” Both of them are often used in daily life, but in fact, they can be described in other ways with the same meaning. This article introduces a variety of expressions for “かわいい” (kawaī) and “かっこいい” (kakkoī).
First, let's start with other ways to say “かわいい” (kawaī).
1. キュート (kyūto)
“キュート” (kyūto) is a Japanese word meaning “cute.” The word “キュート” (kyūto) is derived from the English word “cute” meaning “adorable.”
Sono kaban, kyūtoda ne!
Your bag is cute!
Kyūtona kutsu wo katta no.
I bought cute shoes.
2. きゃわたん (kyawa tan)
“きゃわたん” (kyawa tan) is a young person's casual expression for “cute.” It is said that junior and high school girls started using it. Originally, “きゃわたん” (kyawa tan) was often used in texts such as emails and SNS. But now, some people use it in conversation.
“きゃわたん” (kyawa tan) is a young word, so be careful not to use it on formal occasions.
Kono fuku, kyawa tan. Kaitai na.
This outfit is cute. I want to buy it.
Mite! Ano inu, kyawa tan!
Look! What a cute dog!
Similar to “きゃわたん” (kyawa tan), there are also “きゃわ” (kyawa) and ”きゃわわ” (kyawawa), both of which have the same meaning as “きゃわたん” (kyawa tan).
Sakki shōkai shite kureta kareshi, kyawawada ne.
The boyfriend introduced earlier is cute, isn't he?
3. ぐうかわ (gū kawa)
“ぐうかわ” (gū kawa) is one of the young people's words that means “cute.” “ぐうかわ” (gū kawa) is the Japanese abbreviation for the expression “ぐうの音も出ないほどかわいい” (gūnone mo denai hodo kawaī). “ぐうの音もでない” (gūnone mo denai) means “the state of being unable to refute or make excuses at all.” Therefore, we say “ぐうかわ” (gū kawa) when we want to express “cuteness that no one disagrees with.”
3-sai ni natta watashi no oi-kko ga gū kawa.
My three-year-old nephew is absolutely cute.
Yūjin ga koneko wo hirotte kita ndakedo, gū kawa sugiru.
My friend picked up a kitten, and it's so cute.
4. めんこい (menkoi)
“めんこい” (menkoi) is a dialect meaning “cute” that is used in Hokkaido and the Tohoku region. It is often used when older people express their affection towards younger people.
Kimi, menkoi ne ~
Toshi no hanareta ane wa, itsu made mo boku wo kodomo atsukai shite “menkoi” to itte kuru.
My older sister always treats me as a child and says, "You’re cute."
Next, let's move on to other words for “cool.”
“クール” (kūru) is also a word that means “cool.” It is derived from the pronunciation of the English word “cool.” The main meaning of the Japanese word “クール” (kūru) is “to be cool in appearance or look.” In addition, it is sometimes used to communicate preferences for attitude or behavior.
Pātī de atta kūruna gaiken no dansei ni hitomebore shita.
I fell in love at first sight with a cool looking man I met at the party
Omoi nimotsu wo motte iruto itsumo tetsudatte kureru kare wa kūruda.
He is cool because he always helps me with heavy luggage.
“クール” (kūru) means not only “cool” but also “calm and collected.”
Watashi no ani wa kūrude kakkoī to yūjin kara hyōbanda.
My brother has a reputation from friends for being calm and cool.
6. イケメン (ikemen)
“イケメン” (ikemen) is a youth word that means “cool.” It is mainly used to express the appearance and character of men.
Shisha kara tenzoku shita dansei wa ikemen rashī.
The man who transferred from the branch office seems to be handsome.
Hito no waruguchi wo keshite iwanai kare wa seikaku ga ikemenda.
He has a good personality and never says bad things about people.
7. かっけぇ (ka kke ~)
“かっけぇ” (ka kke ~) is one of the youth words and an abbreviation for “かっこいい.” Sometimes it is written “かっけー” (ka kke ~). Younger people sometimes use it with longing for older people.
Ore wa, sensei mitaina ka kke ~ otona wo mezasu!
I want to be a cool adult man like my teacher!
Furthermore, there is a word in Japanese that express “cute” and “cool” in one word.
８．かっこかわいい (kakko kawaī)
“かっこかわいい” (kakko kawaī) means “cool and cute.” It is used when you want to express a person who is not only cute or cool, but also harmonious with both.
Kono manga no shujinkō wa yōshi ga kawaii no ni, itsumo reiseina hatsugen de kakko kawaī.
The main character of this manga has a cute appearance, but she’s always cool and cute with her calm remarks.
In Japanese, there are many other expressions for “cute” and “cool.” For example, can you guess the meaning of “鬼かわ” (oni kawa) which is a combination of “鬼” (oni), meaning demon, and “かわいい” (kawaī)? If you learn a lot of Japanese expressions, you may be able to enjoy the contents of Japanese anime and manga more.
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