Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Japanese, 1980s
(in the context of Japanese popular culture) cute.
Examples of Kawaii in a sentence
"Her bedroom is decorated in a kawaii style."
"The litter of kittens is so kawaii."
Popularity Over Time
The simplest explanation of kawaii might be "cuteness inspired by Japanese culture." There's not a strict definition of kawaii, but think pastels, cute cartoon creatures, pigtails, and glitter. It started in Japan but has spread around the world, influencing everything from fashion to entertainment to food.
Did you Know?
The most recognizeable mascot of kawaii culture might be Hello Kitty. She was originally designed in 1974 to be British, because many Japanese people were interested in the foreign culture, but Hello Kitty's worldwide popularity now comes from an obsession with Japanese culture.