Discuss word origins and meanings.
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Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Mar 14, 2014 5:15 am

<2014 “This mannered period caper might be Wes Anderson’s ‘most Wes Anderson–y film yet,’ said Francesca Steele in The Independent (U.K.). Set in ‘a world all of its own’ where the colors are surreal, the dialogue is deadpan, and Anderson regulars like Bill Murray and Owen Wilson show up in minor roles, it might be hopelessly twee if it weren’t also the director’s most crowd-pleasing effort.”—The Week, 14 March, page 28> [[The Grand Budapest Hotel]]
Never heard it, but appears to be common across the sea:

TWEE adjective (colloquial,Chiefly British) [1905]: Originally: ‘sweet’, dainty, chic. Now only derogatory: excessively or affectedly quaint, dainty, pretty, sweet, or sentimental; over-nice, over-refined, precious, mawkish. <Although the film is a bit twee, it’s watchable.>

Etymology: From tweet, an infantile pronunciation of sweet.

(Oxford English Dictionary and Oxford Dictionaries)

The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1956 “‘What twee individuals?’ ‘Those knowledgeable sentimentalists who are forever telling me that it's cruel to lock up the poor wild creatures in little wooden boxes.’”—The Drunken Forest by G. Durrell, x. page 193>

<1967 “The best of our designers who have abandoned the rather ‘twee’ decorative type of embroidered picture.”— Embroidery & Fabric Collage, iv. page 102>

<1973 “There is . . . a twee Arcadian outdoor studio complete with white trellis and plastic flowers.”—Wimbledon by G. Robyns, xxix. Page 192>

<1983 “Mike Nichols's thriller-fantasy about dolphins should be as nauseatingly twee as the worst Disney—but it isn't.”—The Listener (BBC, London)m 21 July, page 33/1>

<1995 “The small bar and quaintly-propped dining room might look a bit twee, but the hospitality is honest and graceful.”—The Independent (London), 28 October>

<2007 “ Far from twee, it is actually stylishly designed in bright, modern colours . . .”—Daily Post (Liverpool, England), 9 February>

<2014 “For a start, let's do away with the entertainment before kick-offs because it is embarrassing. . . It is tacky and twee. And - trust me - as a player who has been out there in the middle, it is cringeworthy.”—Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), 11 February>

Ken G – March 13, 2014
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Re: twee

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Mar 14, 2014 6:24 am

If some object is being referred to, Americans will often use the term 'cutesy' where a Briton might say 'twee'.
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Re: twee

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:52 am

Catherine and I disagree over where the exact dividing line between quaint and twee is in many situations. Animal figurines, model houses and inns, Kinkades. Of course, our lines are very wiggly and intersect all over the place. I suppose you could call them twee diagrams.
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Re: twee

Post by Bobinwales » Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:53 am

The tweeble with words like this is not quaint obvious all of the time.

To me, quaint makes you say "Ahh!", whilst twee receives, "Ach i fe" (that is a Welsh term with a variety of uses. if I tell you that we use it a lot when children are about to pick up something better left on the floor until someone gets a dustpan and brush, you will have an idea!).
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Signature: All those years gone to waist!
Bob in Wales

Re: twee

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:30 pm

Edwin F Ashworth wrote:... our lines are very wiggly and intersect all over the place. I suppose you could call them twee diagrams.
In other words, a tool for defining the quaintessence of things...
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Re: twee

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:45 pm

A diagnostick.

Ken didn't deserve this.
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Re: twee

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:54 pm

Edwin F Ashworth wrote:A diagnostick.

Ken didn't deserve this.
But surely as a physicist, Ken recognises the value of quaintification.
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Re: twee

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:17 am

There was a physicist named Ken
Who wanted to know just when
To use quaint or to use twee
But none could agree
And some said maybe but then again.

Woz waxing lyrical
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: twee

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:50 am

With acknowledgments (and apologies) to WoZ:
A dogged researcher named Ken
Looked into the question of when
To say quaint versus twee;
But none could agree:
"Maybe now!" -- "I think not!" -- "Then again..."

Frustrated, Ken wept in his hands:
"There's no way to know where one stands!
I curse twee and quaint,
For cutesy they ain't --
I'd far rather study my glands!"
(Apologies to Ken as well... :-)
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End of topic.
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