Every language has its own set of sweet or romantic nicknames and English is no different. Here in this article, we’ll take a look at the different English terms of endearment.
From the traditional darling and the old-fashioned British poppet to more recent American slang such as bae, let’s check them all out here.
Themes in English Nicknames
Most terms of endearment in English are generally based on some themes. First, of course, is about anything sweet. Think: honey, sugar, sweetie, cupcake, muffin, buttercup, and any sweet and delicious pastry you could think about.
Another theme is animals. Little children and babies are oftentimes referred to as lamb, pet, bunny, panda, or kitten among others. Husbands and boyfriends are also nicknamed after animals, but the strong ones like bear, tiger, lion, or wolf. Wives and girlfriends can either be a meek doe or a sexy vixen.
My….. and Little
A lot of affectionate nicknames begin with “My” such as my heart, my life, my northern star, my heaven, my sunshine. Many times, people would just pick anything they feel strongly about and add “my”. You can be creative about it!
For children, you can add “little” to any pet name (or even any random word actually) and it’s already a cute nickname. Some examples are little bear, little star, little lady, little one, little sweetheart, little monster, or little bunny.You can also mix the two, and say my little lamb, my little star, my little love… well, you get the drift.
People can tend to get extra creative when it comes to nicknames for babies or little children (and even pets!). This includes gibberish-sounding words like snookums, wookums, bubba-diddle, doodlekins, huggy-buggy, punkin-wunkin, tinker-doodle, tootsie-wootsie. And no, I’m not making these up.
So basically, you can take whatever cute-sounding word you could come up with and just go for it!
Having said that, let’s proceed to the list of common English terms of endearment.
English Terms of Endearment For All
This list includes nicknames that are applicable to be used for anyone, be it your husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, baby, friend, pet, or even with random people (usually with traditional nicknames like dear, love, sweetheart) if used appropriately. But with strangers, only older people can get away with it.
Example scenario: At the supermarket. An old lady is having trouble picking up something from the top shelf. A young woman passes by and the old lady says: “Sweetheart, can you be a dear and get that box of tissues for me?”
Now for your list.
Honey (also, hun)
Cuddle bunny (could also be cuddle bear)
Snuggle bunny (could also be snuggle bear)
Love (also, luv)
Love of my life
My One and Only
Dear (also, dearie, dearest, my dear)
Terms of Endearment for Female Partner
While you can use any of the nicknames mentioned in the list above, the following is exclusive to a female lover only.
Baby girl (also appropriate for use with little girls)
Baby doll (can be used with little girls also)
Princess (can be used with little girls also)
Doll (can be used with little girls also)
Girl of my dreams
Shorty (American slang)
My old ball-and-chain
English Terms of Endearment for the Male Partner
Now here are the ones for your boyfriend or husband.
Man of My Dreams
Sexy (may also be used with wife/ girlfriend)
Nicknames for Babies and Children
My little star
Regional Terms of Endearment
Some nicknames are used in certain places only such as American slang terms bae and boo.
When you encounter some Scottish folk, you might also hear them call someone hen. The Brits on the other hand would say pet, while in Southwest England, it’s common for people to use My lover without a sexual or romantic connotation.
Now, over to you….
What English terms of endearment do you use with your loved ones? And what are the best nicknames in your native language? Do share with all of us in the comments!