Meaning of "cute tykes"

Hi, what are cute tykes?

According to my dictionary a tyke is a small child or a dog. How can one word describe a child and at the same time a dog? Isn’t there a difference between both? How did this term come about, who uses it and when?

Thanks in advance.


How can one word, right, mean correct and the opposite of left and immediately, Nicole? The language is replete with homonyms. You must judge by context what meaning is intended.

This is a casual word, and I might use it, for instance, to inquire of a friend’s new child: And what is your cute little tyke’s name?

tyke: c.1400, “cur, mongrel,” from O.N. tik “bitch,” related to M.L.G. tike. Also applied to a low-bred or lazy man. The meaning “child” is from 1902, though it was used in playful reproof from 1894.

There’s another new word for me! Curiously, the Mexicans also have a word that means both little boy (used derogatorily) and dog: ‘escuincle’. It derives from the Nahuatl (the Aztecs’ language) ‘itzcuintli’.

Using the same word for a child and an animal is not unusual. Remember that the word kid means both a child and a baby goat. If it didn’t, we’d be very shocked when we see kid-skin gloves for sale.

In Czech it can get weirder. People call very small children by the word “prdelka”, which means little buttocks.