In most parts of the world, the sense of the word "cute" given by Webster -- "Clever; sharp; shrewd; ingenious; cunning." -- has been replaced by the more common sense of "attractive, especially by means of smallness or prettiness or quaintness". However, the original sense of the word is still current in Ireland, where it is quite common to refer to a cunning, devious person as "cute".

In this usage, cute indicates that the person referred to is smarter than he/she looks, knows more than he/she is letting on, etc. It is a very useful word, as it indicates both admiration and distrust. By calling someone cute, you are paying his/her intelligence a compliment, while indicating a wariness as to his/her motives. For this reason, you would rarely call someone cute to his/her face, except in jest.

This usage of cute is commonly teamed with the an Irish pronunciation of the word whore: hoor or whoor. When pronounced in this way, the word loses its literal meaning of "prostitute", and becomes a playful, all-purpose insult, similar to fecker. Thus, if somebody calls you a cute hoor, they do not mean to say that you are an attractive prostitute, but that you are a clever person, a dark horse, someone whose wits are a force to be reckoned with.

Perhaps one reason this usage survives is that there is an analogous word in the Irish langauge: glic. This word is sometimes imported into Hiberno-English in place of cute, to avoid confusion.