といった意味があります。American Heritage Dictionaryの記述を引用しますと、下記のようにあります。
WORD HISTORY: Cute is a good example of how a shortened form of a word can take on a life of its own, developing a sense that dissociates it from the longer word from which it was derived. Cute was originally a shortened form of acute in the sense "keenly perceptive or discerning, shrewd." In this sense cute is first recorded in a dictionary published in 1731. Probably cute came to be used as a term of approbation for things demonstrating acuteness, and so it went on to develop its own sense of 'attractive, fetching," first recorded with reference to "gals" in 1838.
(American Heritage Dictionary of English Language. Third Edition.)