The main meaning of 可愛くない is of course "not cute", but I think I've heard/seen the word in other contexts, too. Is it possible for 可愛くない to be a kind of insult, like "loser" maybe? Especially when it's used for boys?

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    Do you have any particular example context(s) you'd like to add to your question, so people can comment on how they'd interpret it in those specific examples? – snailplane Sep 5 '18 at 20:13
  • Unfortunately not at the moment. I just read a scene in a manga where a girl says about a boy (her friend) that he's 可愛くない, but there's no further context. I just think it doesn't mean "he's not cute" (or maybe I just think that because I would never say that in English?) – Prune Sep 6 '18 at 6:34
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    「素直じゃない」・「可愛いげがない(可愛いげのない~)」て意味でも使いますよね – Chocolate Sep 10 '18 at 3:55

可愛い has a wide variety of meanings, but in your case it probably means "adorable", "innocent", "docile" or "childlike". For example, if a 9-year-old boy refuses to help his mom after saying a sarcastic and argumentative remark about money, that can be 可愛くない.

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  • At least in anime it's imho often used as a joke in that the target person of such remark wouldn't have wanted to be called 可愛い in the first place – NoxArt Sep 6 '18 at 8:16
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    @NoxArt Something like 可愛くねえガキだな is not a joke at all. – naruto Sep 6 '18 at 10:10
  • True, something like that isn't ... it was probably a wrong term, well ... I imagined it in a more lighthearted way (perhaps like teasing) so it probably depends on intonation... – NoxArt Sep 6 '18 at 11:43

I sometimes see it used in the sense of "mean" or "ungrateful":


You're not very nice.


I bought you donuts and you're not even thankful!

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