“Cute as a button” Is that supposed to be a compliment?

Since when are buttons cute?

CUTE AS A BUTTON – “cute, charming, attractive, almost always with the connotation of being small, 1868 (from the original 1731 English meaning of ‘acute’ or clever). Cute as a bug’s ear, 1930; cute as a bug in a rug, 1942; cute as a button, 1946. Cute and keen were two of the most overused slang words of the late 1920s and 1930s.” From “Listening to America” by Stuart Berg Flexner (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1992.)

Flexner may have an idea about the word “cute,” but he provides no guidance on the question of how a button can be cute. The key to the issue is that it is not the button on a shirt that is meant here, but a flower bud seen in the popular name of small flowers, such as bachelor’s button (q.v. “button” (n) in the OED, meanings 2 and 3).

The British version is “bright as a button”. This makes sense if you think of a polished brass button. The phrase is really only ever used of small people – you’d say that a child, or maybe a small dog, was as bright as a button, but you’d never say it of a six-foot man. So the image is of a small sparky thing.

Its an old saying, maybe buttons at those times were hard to find….?
For ex. If you say to a really ugly-looking girl you saw for first time, without really knowing her insights, without meaning it you say ” You are beautiful / sexy (which is regarded compliment to majority of female population) “….. ?
Its all up to you, how you perceive! If you say buttons are cute…then its a compliment. A compliment is a compliment – the way u take it….

I wouldnt like to be called cute as a button, i think its very annoying and i would not take i as a compliment.

Typically, cute or pretty girls are considered physically attractive, as long as they don’t have the personality of a pit bull with a toothache or some other issues. Baby face is OK, but cute or pretty are definitely compliments.

Buttons are cute. I am going to name my dog Buttons.

Yes I suppose!
From the time of inventing the pressing buttons!

I’s a really old phrase; not sure where or when it originated. But yes, it’s supposed to be a compliment. Uless you’re hoping to hear that you’re sexy or beautiful, not cute. =]

“Cute as a button” is almost as cute as “cute as a bugs ear”
I guess my grandma thought bug ears were cute.

yes, its a compliment…if you think about buttons, they are small and cute…okay its a stretch..but its a compliment….

I’ve never used that expression and never would – buttons aren’t cute really!

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