Terms of Endearment: Pet Names from Around the World Image

Ahh, love. It can be expressed in so many ways…

So many strange, strange ways.

You’ve probably heard of the Romance languages and the five “love languages,” but there’s probably yet another language of love that only you and your sweetheart can understand.

Terms of endearment, or the affectionate words people use to address their loved ones, can vary greatly by language and even more so by couple.

Terms of Endearment and Pet Names for Lovers

Those cutesy nicknames that are for your ears only might nauseate others if they should ever hear them, but for you they serve as a reminder of your close bond. (I’ll take my assigned pet name to the grave, so don’t even ask.)

Even if you swore you’d never be like “those couples,” you may very well find yourself letting a few “muffins” and “honeybunches” slip out every now and then.

Embrace it! It’s in your closest personal relationships that you should have the freedom to express yourself however you want.

And, as it turns out, all that baby talk can actually have a solidifying effect on your relationship.

So let’s take a look at some of the most common terms of endearment from around the world (because cheesiness knows no borders).

Some will make you laugh, some will make you cringe, and some just might end up sticking in your relationship.

English Terms of Endearment

Sweetheart/Sweetie

Classic. Simple. Cute. Just like your love.

Honey

Another standard. Variations include “honey bear” and even “honey bunny,” à la Pulp Fiction.

Sugar

Looking back on the first few options here, I’m sensing a sweet tooth problem.

Pumpkin

Should probably add “spice” for millennials.

Baby

Another classic, but also kinda cheeky?

Babe

What my parents use, which is why I’ll never use it.

Bae

Just don’t.

Darling

Make sure you say it while clutching your pearls or fixing your significant other a nice cup of tea.

Doll

Unfortunately, I can only read this in Khloe Kardashian’s voice.

Dear

Dear who?? Are you writing a letter?

Love

Also the term of choice for Instagram models commenting on each other’s photos. (Example: “In love with that swimsuit, babe!” “Thanks, love!!”)

Terms of Endearment from Around the World

To prove we’re really not that different after all, here are some sweet/hilarious/embarrassing terms of endearment from around the world.

Italian Terms of Endearment

Tesoro

“Treasure.” Used similarly to “darling” in English.

Cucciolo/a

“Puppy.” Everyone loves puppies, and if you’re with someone who doesn’t, well… don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Patatina

“Little potato.” Usually reserved for girls, as the noun is feminine. I’ve always had mixed feelings for this one.

Polpetta

“Meatball.” You decide.

Pulce

“Flea.” Terrifying. But, Italians aren’t the only one who use this, so we can’t blame them completely. See French below.

Fragolina

“Little strawberry.” Can we all say awwwww?

French Terms of Endearment

Doudou

“Blankie” / “Cuddly thing.” It can’t be literally translated, so you’ll just have to trust me that it’s not what it sounds like.

Mon chou or Chouchou

“My cabbage.” File this under the ones I’ll never understand. But the French seem quite fond of it, so, to each his own cabbage, I guess.

Ma puce

“My flea.” See!!

Ma crevette

“My shrimp.” Ooh la la.

Mon oisillon

“My little birdie.” My other half is terrified of birds, so that wouldn’t work.

Mon nounours

“My teddy bear.” The translation isn’t as funny as the word itself.

Spanish Terms of Endearment

Bomboncita

“Little candy.” I think we can all agree this is more appealing than “flea.”

Mi media naranja

“My half-orange.” Referring to someone as your half-orange is just so much cuter than your “better half.”

Mi cielo

“My heaven/sky.” Dreamy.

Mi corazón

“My heart.” Is it just me, or does everything sound more romantic in Spanish?

Mi príncipe/reina

“My king/queen.” Only use this one for someone deserving.

Bebé

“Baby.”

Chinese Terms of Endearment

傻瓜 Shǎguā

“Silly melon.” Much nicer than some of the terms I’ve used, to be honest.

笨蛋 Bèndàn

“Dumb egg.” Well, at least it’s not rotten.

心肝 Xīngān

“Darling,” but literally, “heart and liver.” Can’t live without ‘em.

老婆 Lǎopó

Informal term for“wife”/ “wifey.”

老公 Lǎogōng

Informal term for “husband” / “hubby.”

German Terms of Endearment

Liebling

“Favorite.” It’s always nice to let them know where they stand, after all.

Maus

“Mouse.” Cute, if you’re not bothered by rodents.

Honigkuchenpferd

“Honey-cake horse.” What does such a thing even look like?

Igelschnauzchen

“Little hedgehog snout.” I just spit out my coffee.

Hase

“Bunny.”

Knuddelbärchen

“Little cuddle bear.”

Arabic Terms of Endearment

Habibi (m.) / Habibti (f.)

“My love.”

Hayati

“My life.”

Ya amar

“Moon” in the Egyptian dialect. The moon is often used as a symbol of beauty.

Russian Terms of Endearment

Kotyonok 

“Kitten.”

Zaika/zaichik

“Bunny.” Seems like every language besides mine uses this one. I’m feeling language envy.

Myshka 

“Little mouse.”

Zolotse

“My gold.” (24K, thank you very much.)

Lapochka

“Sweetie pie.”

Hawaiian Terms of Endearment

Ku’uipo

“Sweetheart.”

Ke aloha / Ku‘u lei

“Beloved.”

E ku’u aloha

“My love.”

Terms of Endearment for Couples

Love them or hate them, terms of endearment and creative pet names can actually strengthen a couple’s bond (and reveal a lot, if they ever slip out in public!)

What are your favorite terms of endearment from this list? Do you and your significant other have pet names for each other?

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Kaelyn Barron

As a blog writer for TCK Publishing, Kaelyn loves crafting fun and helpful content for writers, readers, and creative minds alike. She has a degree in International Affairs with a minor in Italian Studies, but her true passion has always been writing. Working from home allows her to do even more of the things she loves, like traveling, cooking, and spending time with her family.