Word or Phrase for "So Cute You Want to Harm It But Not Literally"?
August 23, 2022 1:37 PM   Subscribe

There's specifically a word or phrase for the feeling of "oh my God you are so utterly cute I want to scrunch you into a million pieces" - the feeling of something being so overly cute that you ... I don't know, want to do harm to it in your expression of love, I suppose if you take it literally? What is this phrase?
posted by MollyRealized to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Cute aggression.
posted by watermelon at 1:39 PM on August 23 [12 favorites]

I just want to point out this from Wikipedia and suggest that if no English term turns up we model ourselves on Guatemala:

In some Latin American countries, like Guatemala, it’s referred to as “the thing.” For example; ese gatito me da cosa. “That cat gives me the thing”.

"The cat gives me the thing" completely gives me the thing.
posted by Frowner at 1:45 PM on August 23 [10 favorites]

Squeeeeee ? (like, it's almost squeeze, but holds up before it get there?)
posted by OHenryPacey at 1:49 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

I've always called it "nervio", inspired by this post.
posted by lhall at 1:56 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]

My spouse is a heritage Tagalog speaker and so we use "gigil" in our household.
posted by Earthtopus at 2:01 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]

Before I heard the term "cute aggression," I always used to say "I will love him and squeeze him and call him George."
posted by praemunire at 2:08 PM on August 23 [11 favorites]

Kind of like when holding a chubby baby saying "I could just eat those cheeks!"
posted by heathrowga at 2:14 PM on August 23

"Love you to pieces" is somewhat along the same lines. Similar phrases: "Love you to bits," "Love you to death," "Love you so much I could eat you up." Some more background here.
posted by flug at 2:16 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

The podcast Reply All had a whole segment on this phenomenon; link includes a transcript.
posted by carrienation at 2:51 PM on August 23 [4 favorites]

Another Tagalog/Filipino speaker here, and +1 to "gigil" from Earthtopus!
posted by tinydancer at 4:07 PM on August 23 [2 favorites]

I wondered this forever because I feel like I have actually damaged my teeth from grinding them in response to what feels a tiny bit like wanting to bite my very beloved cats and yes, it's cute aggression.
posted by less-of-course at 4:13 PM on August 23 [1 favorite]

In my part of Twitter, I see the Indonesian word for this, gemes/gemas, used even by non-Indonesian speakers.
posted by typify at 6:58 PM on August 23

previously on the blue, where I learned about “nervio” and lots of other terms around this
posted by meijusa at 12:37 AM on August 24

My best friend and I call this "delight rage."
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 7:59 AM on August 24

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