I recently wanted to compliment someone for having done something "very cute," and wound up using まさにかわいい. They understood me, but now I suspect that is a weird way to say it. More common variations would be ほんとうにかわいい and とてもかわいい. I have seen people use what I wrote; for example, まさにかわいい男の子, but they're not necessarily doing it right either. Does まさにかわいい even convey the correct meaning, and if so, is it common enough to not seem bizarre?

Edit: Based on some comments, I should clarify that I used the phrase as an exclamation. I said「まさにかわいい」only, in response to watching a performance. The English equivalent would be to exclaim "very cute!" after watching someone perform. The example I included of「まさにかわいい男の子」is one where I've seen the phrase used; but I don't know I've seen it used stand-alone as I did.

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    By "having done something" do you mean the way someone performed the action was cute or the result of the action, ie. what they created was cute?
    – macraf
    Oct 5, 2015 at 22:43
  • The first word that pops into my head for "very" is なかなか.
    – Darcinon
    Oct 5, 2015 at 23:25
  • @macraf Good question. In this case, it's both. If I made a complete sentence in English, it would be "Your dancing was very cute." Or, alternatively, "your dance was cute," "you danced very cutely," "that was a very cute dance," etc. These all may technically be different in English, but really mean the same thing; and in normal conversation people would just say, after watching the dance, "very cute!" Oct 8, 2015 at 2:58

1 Answer 1


まさにかわいいね does sound wrong. まさにかわいい男の子だね sounds grammatical but the meaning would be a bit weird. It's hard to explain but it would imply the boy is representative of かわいい男の子, but it's not rare to be a かわいい男の子, so it feels odd to say that (though I can imagine a situation where it could be said).

E.g. まさに日本一の美男子だね or まさに百獣の王ですね sounds natural, and it would mean "X truly possess the characteristics of Y" or "X truly represents Y".

EDIT: Had a bit of thought after @suish's comment. I think the rule has to do with identity. If somebody had "defined" the かわいいness as "ほんとにすごいかわいい男の子なんだよ" as a thing, then later, you can say "まさにかわいい男の子だね" to agree that that definition is indeed met. I think that's why it works with 日本一の美男子 or 百獣の王 because there is an implied identity of that thing.

As a further example, consider まさに赤いね. This doesn't quite work, but まさにどす黒いね would work because どす黒い is much more specific.

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    I'm japanese though, like 99% of us never say まさにかわいい男の子だね to boy except he's a baby boy. and in this case of まさに tend to be recognized as someone told you how cute the baby is before you really met him.which means まさにかわいい男の子だね includes the meaning that you think he is cute and agree with people saying so.
    – suish
    Oct 6, 2015 at 0:41
  • @EnnoShioji Based on comments from user macraf, I've clarified that I used the phrase as an exclamation in response to having watched something someone did. See my edit to the original question and my response to macraf's comment, and let me know if that changes your answer. Oct 8, 2015 at 3:22

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