The Drops Blog

136 Terms of Endearment in Different Languages

Shannon Kennedy

When we have a special someone in our lives, we often call them by pet names, nicknames or other terms of endearment. It’s part of a private language you share with that important person and a way of sharing your affection for them. 

English speakers use terms like “honey”, “bae”, “baby”, “hun”, or “love”. We may also tack on diminutive endings like “-kins” so that “honey” becomes “honeykins” or “-bunch” so that it is instead “honeybunch”. 

But what other popular terms of endearment are used by speakers of other languages around the world? 

Before we share a few words used in affection as a part of this terms of endearment list, let’s take a step back and look at just what these words are.

Terms of Endearment Meaning

A term of endearment is word or phrase used to address another person, animal or even object for which the speaker feels affection. They are most often used to refer to a lover, child, or pet.

Terms of endearment are often romantic, but they can also be used in non-romantic situations. For example, you might call a friend “dude” or “bud” affectionately but without any romantic undertones.

Want to impress those you care about by knowing words of endearment in different languages? Look no further.

Here, you’ll learn ways to address those who mean most in your life in 30 different languages. Learning to say “hi” is one of the first things you’ll want to know when learning a new language, so we’re here to help you get started. 

Ready to learn to these words of affection in different languages? Let’s dive in.

American English Terms of Endearment

1. Lovebug

The term “lovebug” is used for someone whom you love fully (or whom loves you fully). It’s often used for women or children and isn’t necessarily romantic in nature. 

2. Babe

Other variations on this affectionate name may be “bae” or “baby”. If you find a woman particularly attractive, the word “babe” can also be used to describe her. 

3. Sweetheart

“Sweetheart” is a common term of endearment in American English. It is also sometimes shortened to “sweetie”, “sweets” or even modified to “sweetcheeks” (a slightly offensive term depending on the context). 

4. Honey

You’ll often hear Americans refer to their partners as “honey” or the shortened “hun”. This may also be used to refer to a female friend by either males or females, though you’ll hear it more often used by females. 

Arabic Terms of Endearment

5. حبيب/حبيبة قلبي (habib albi) - “love of my heart”

This term of affection means “love of my heart” and it can be used by either a male or female to refer to a male or female partner.

6. يا حياتي (ya hayati) - “my life”

In Arabic, you can also call your partner “my life”. 

7. يا قمر (ya amar) - “my moon”

If you’d like something a little different from “my life” or “love of my heart”, you can also refer to your loved one as “my moon”.

8. يا حلو/حلوة (ya helo) - “my beautiful”

It may seem like the pet name “my beautiful” is something you’d only use with a female loved one, but it can actually be used with either male or female counterparts. 

British English Terms of Endearment

9. Love

This name is deceiving--it isn’t just used for someone that you love. Instead, it’s used to call anyone for whom you feel any degree of affection.

10. Duck

In England, you may hear the word “duck” used as a term of endearment, particularly by older generations.

11. Dear

In English, you can show your affection by calling someone “dear” or “my dear”. If they are the most dear to you, you could even use “dearest”!

12. Darling

If someone is darling to you, you can call them “darling” or “my darling” in English.

Cantonese Terms of Endearment

13. 仔 (jái) - “-y or -ette”

In Cantonese, you can add a diminutive to someone’s name similar to changing John to Johnny. For example, if a man’s name is 德華, you would drop the first character and add 仔 so that it becomes 華仔 (Wàhjái).  

14. 阿 (a

Similar to 仔, you can pair 阿 with the second character of someone’s given name. In this case, however, 阿 goes before the name whereas 仔 follows the name. For example, 學友 (Hohkyáuh) could become 阿友 (A-Yáuh).

15. 傻豬 - “silly pig”

In Cantonese, you can also use pet names like 傻豬 "silly pig". It may sound offensive, but it’s intended in a cute way, much like we might say “piglet” in English.

16-17. 老婆仔 - “wifey”; 老公仔 - “hubby”

Just like you might call your spouse “wifey” or “hubby” in English, you can attach jái to the word for “wife” and “husband” in Cantonese to do the same.

Danish Terms of Endearment

18. Elskede - “beloved”

In Danish, you can use the word elskede to refer to your “beloved” or “darling”.

19-20. Puttegøj / puttemus - “cuddlebug”

If you have a “little mouse” who loves to cuddle, you might call them your puttegøj or puttemus in Danish.

21. Skat - “treasure”

In many languages, a popular term of endearment is “treasure”, and Danish is no exception. 

22. Yndling - “favorite”

Someone you feel affection for might be your “favorite”, so it’s no surprise that a common term of endearment in Danish is “favorite”.

Dutch Terms of Endearment

23. Schat - “treasure”

Like the Danish, the Dutch also use the word “treasure” to refer to someone dear to them. It’s common and versatile--it can be used for a partner or children.

24. Snoepje - “little candy”

In Danish, you can use the word snoepje to refer to small candies or to refer to a loved one as a pet name. It’s similar to calling someone “my sweet” in English.

25-26. Lieve / liefje - “dear” or “little dear”

A common term of endearment in Dutch is lieve and its diminutive form liefje. These respectively mean “dear” and “little dear”.

27. Schatje - “little treasure”

In addition to schat for “treasure”, you can call someone your “little treasure” or schatje in Dutch by using the diminutive form. 

Esperanto Terms of Endearment

28. Mia kara - “my dear”

One term of affection used in Esperanto is mia kara and it means “my dear”.

29. Mia trezoreto - “my treasure”

Like in Danish and Dutch, you can use “my treasure” to refer to a loved one in Esperanto.

30. Pudingeto - “pudding”

Another term of affection in Esperanto is pudingeto which means “pudding”.

31. Mia amato - “my love”

You can also call someone mia amato, “my love” in Esperanto.

French Terms of Endearment

32. Mon amour - “my love”

It’s no surprise that in French, the “language of love”, you can call your partner or children “my love”, mon amour

33-36. Mon chou - “my cabbage”

In French, you can call someone your cabbage. It’s mon chou, but if you want to make it cuter, you can use its diminutive form. It becomes ma choupette or ma choupinette for a girl and mon choupinou for a boy. 

37. Mon trésor -  “my treasure”

French is another language where someone you love is considered a treasure.

38-39. Mon chéri / ma chérie - “my dear”

The opening words to Stevie Wonder’s well-known song my chérie amour refers to a “dear love”. In French, to say “my dear”, you use mon chéri for a man and ma chérie for a woman. The good news is, despite different spellings, the two are pronounced the same.

German Terms of Endearment

40. Schatz - “treasure”

Germans also use “treasure” as a term of endearment. 

41. Liebling - “favorite”

You can also call someone your “favorite” in German, much like in in Danish. The German word for favorite, Liebling, is related to the word love, Liebe

42. Perle - “pearl”

In German, in addition to calling a loved one your “treasure”, you can also call them your “pearl”. 

43. Knuddelbärchen – “cuddle bear”

The German language is known for combining several words into one longer word. An example of this is in the term of endearment for your “cuddle bear” in German--knuddelbärchen

Hawaiian Terms of Endearment

44-45. E ku'u aloha / Ko`u aloha - “my love”

To say “my love”, a term of endearment in Hawaiian, you can say either e ku’u aloha or ko’u aloha

46-47. Ke aloha / Ku`u lei - “beloved”

The equivalent of “beloved” in Hawaiian is ke aloha or ku’u lei

48. Ku’uipo - “sweetheart”

In Hawaiian, if you’d like to call someone “sweetheart”, you can use the word ku-uipo

49. Mea aloha - loved one

The Hawaiian word aloha means so much more than hello, and this is exemplified in the Hawaiian expression for “loved one”--mea aloha

Terms of Endearment in Hebrew 

50-51. מתוק / מתוקה (matok / metuka) - “sweetie”

If you’d like to call someone “sweetie” in Hebrew, you can use matok for a man, or metuka for a woman.

52. מאמי (mummy) - no literal meaning

This Hebrew term of endearment has no literal meaning, instead it’s just a nickname that you can use to refer to someone close to you.

53. נשמה שלי (neshama sheli) - “my soul”

You can use “my soul” as a term of endearment in Hebrew.

54. דובשנית (duvshanit) - “honey”

Another term of endearment in Hebrew is "honey".

Hindi Terms of Endearment

55. जानू (jaanu) - “my life”

In Hindi, a popular term of endearment is “my life”. 

56. मेरा प्यार (mera pyaar) - “my love”

Like many other languages, you can call your partner “my love” to show your affection.

57. प्रिये / प्रिय (priye, priya) - “darling”  

In Hindi, “darling” is another affectionate name you can use.

58. मेरे दिल का प्यार (mere dil ka pyaar) - “love of my heart”

If you’d like something a little more expressive, you can use “love of my heart” to share your feelings.

Hungarian Terms of Endearment

59. Bébi - “baby”

In Hungarian, you can use bébi to refer to a loved one. It’s a borrowed word from the English “baby”.

60. Kedvesem / drágám - “my dear”

You can use kedvesem or drágám to say “my dear” in Hungarian.

61.  Édesem  ‘my sweet’

Refer to your loved one as “my sweet” with the Hungarian édesem.

62. Kicsim - “my little one”

Your Hungarian, you may refer to your loved one as kicsim, or “my little one”.

Icelandic Terms of Endearment

63-4. Kærasti / kærasta - “darling”

Your loved one, or “darling” is your kærasti if it’s a man or kærasta if it’s a woman in Icelandic. 

65. Krútt (mitt) - “sweetie”

For your children or pets, you might use krútt to call them “sweetie” or “cutie” in Icelandic.

66. Elskan (mín) - “(my) love”

If you want to say someone is “my love” in Icelandic, you’d say that he or she is elskan min

67. Krúttið mitt - “honey”

The diminutive form of krútt mitt is krúttið mitt and when used, it’s similar to the English pet name “honey”.

Indonesian Terms of Endearment 

68. Sayangku – “my dear”

A common term of endearment you’ll hear in Indonesian is sayangku. It translates as “my dear”. 

69. Kasih - “love”

The term kasih means “love” and is slightly outdated. You can still hear it today in songs.

70. Beb - “babe”

Indonesian borrowed the English term of endearment “babe”, but it has its own spelling--beb

71. Manis - “sweet”

Another Indonesion term of endearment is manis. It means “sweet” or “cute”. 

Italian Terms of Endearment

72. Fragolina - “little strawberry”

If someone is dear to you, you might call them your “little strawberry” in Italian. Fragolina is the diminutive form of the Italian word for strawberry--fragola

73. Amore Mio - “my love”

You can use amore mio, my love, to refer to someone you feel affection for in Italian.

74-75. Stella / stellina – “star”

In Italian, the word for “star” is stella. It’s also a word you can use to refer to a loved one. You can also use the diminutive form stellina to do the same.

76-77. Caro / cara - “dear”

You can call someone caro if there are male or cara if they are female to say “dear” in Italian. It can be used with partners, friends, or close acquaintances. You can also use carina, the diminutive version of this term of endearment. 

Japanese Terms of Endearment

78. あなた (anata) - “you”

In Japanese, it’s very uncommon to refer to someone as “you”. Instead, you use their name or title to refer to them or when you’re speaking to them. When you use anata, you’re expressing endearment and familiarity. 

79-80. -ちゃん, -くん (-chan, -kun) - honorifics

Another way to express affection for someone in Japanese is by adding the honorifics -chan (for a male) or -kun (for a female). These are most used with friends or family, but can sometimes be used to refer to someone who works under you.

81. Japanese Nicknames

If you are close friends with someone or in a romantic relationship, one way to show your affection is by coming up with a nickname for that person using their name or the sounds in their name. You can create these nicknames by merging their first and last names, shortening their first name, or by using a quality that describes an aspect of their personality.

Korean Terms of Endearment

82. 애인 (ae-in) - “sweetheart”

To call someone “sweetheart” in Korean, you would use 애인. It can be used for either males or females.

83. 여보 (yeobo) - “darling”

Married couples refer to their spouses as 여보 in Korean. It means “darling”.

84. 자기야 (jagiya) = “baby”

Korean also has a version of the affectionate “baby”. It’s 자기야 and it can also be used similarly to “honey”

85. 내 사랑 (nae sarang) - “my love”

If you want to call your partner “my love” in Korean, you’d use 내 사랑. 사랑 means “love” and 내 means “my”.

Terms of Endearment in Mandarin 

86. 爱人 (àiren) - “lover”

In Chinese, your “lover” is literally your “love person”. It also means “spouse”.

87. 亲爱的 (qīnài de) - “beloved” 

Your “beloved” in Chinese is your “dear love”. This Chinese term of endearment can also translate as “dear” or “darling”.

88. 傻瓜 (shǎguā) - “fool”

They say fools fall in love, and coincidentally, one of the Chinese terms of endearment for your partner is “fool”! 傻瓜 literally translates as “stupid melon”, but it roughly translates as “fool”.

89-90. Nicknames using 小 (xiǎo) and 大 (dà) 

In Mandarin Chinese, you can attach “small” or “big” to your friends given name to show affection. Much in the way you might refer to a friend as Big John or Little John in English (especially if you have more than one friend named John).

Maori Terms of Endearment

91. E ipo - “darling”

You can use the Maori term of endearment e ipo to say “my darling”.

92. Taku whaiāipo - “my sweetheart”

Want to say “my sweetheart” in Maori? Then you’d use taku whaiāipo

93. taku kairangi - “my finest greenstone”

Similar to calling your loved one “my treasure” in other languages, you might call your partner “my finest greenstone” in Maori. It shows the value you find in your significant other.

94. e te paruhi - “favorite”

Paruhi refers to something which is of high quality and completely flawless.

Norwegian Terms of Endearment

95. Min kjæreste - “my dearest”

In Norwegian, you can use min kjæreste to tell someone that they are your dearest. 

96. Min skatt - “my treasure” 

Another term of endearment in Norwegian is min skatt which means “my treasure”. 

Terms of Endearment in Polish 

97. Mój drogi / moja droga - “my dear” 

“My dear” is mój drogi in Polish if you’re saying it to a male, and moja droga if you’re saying it to a female.

98. Misio – “teddy bear”

A Polish term of endearment you can use is misio. It means “teddy bear”. 

99. Kochanie – “honey”

In Polish, the pet name “honey” is kochanie

100-101. Mój skarb, skarbie – “my treasure”

Polish is another language that uses “treasure” as a term of endearment. It’s mój skarb if you’re speaking to a male and moja skarbie if you’re referring to a woman. 

Portuguese Terms of Endearment

102. Amigão - “Big Friend”

In Portuguese, amigo means friend. But if someone is your “big friend”, or a good friend, then you would call them your amigão

103. Fofinho - “cute” 

To let someone know they’re your “cutie pie”, you would call them fofinho in Portuguese.

104. Amorzinho - “little love” 

When you adore someone, you might call them “love” or even your “little love”. To express this in Portuguese, you’d use amorzinho

105-106. Querido / querida - “dear” 

Another Portuguese term of endearment is “dear”. In Portuguese, this is querido when talking to a male or querida if talking to a female. 

Russian Terms of Endearment

107. котёнок (kotyonok) - “kitten”

In Russian, your loved one might be “kitten” or even котик (kotik, “little cat”). It can be used for either a man or a woman.

108-109. Солнце (solntsye) / солнышко (solnishka) - “sunshine”

When someone brightens your day, you may call them “sunshine”. The same happens in Russian. 

110. Жизнь моя (zhizn moya) - “my life”

A common term of endearment in Russian is “my life”, Жизнь моя.

111. Душа моя (dusha moya) - “my soul”

Instead of “my life”, you can also use “my soul” in Russian.

Spanish Terms of Endearment

112. Cariño - “darling”

Cariño can be used to refer to a romantic partner. It means “darling” and can be used with either a man or woman. 

113. Amor - “love”

You can call your partner or children amor or mi amor (“my love”) in Spanish. 

114. Corazón - “heart”

In Spanish, someone you feel strongly about may be your corazón--you’re heart.

115. Cielo - “Sky”

You can call someone cielo to show your affection in Spanish. 

Swedish Terms of Endearment

116. Älskling - “darling”

In Swedish, one term of endearment you can use is “darling”.

117. Hjärtat - “heart”

Like in Spanish, “heart” is a term of endearment you can use in Swedish with a partner or a close friend.

118. Min skatt - “my treasure”

If you were wondering what other languages use “treasure” to refer to a loved one, look no further! Swedish also uses “treasure”, min skatt.

119-120. Sötis / sötnot - “sweetie”

In Swedish, you might use sötis or sötnos to call someone your “sweetie”. 

Tagalog Terms of Endearment 

121. Mahal - “expensive”

Want to tell someone you value them in Tagalog? Call them mahal, it means “expensive” or “dear”.

122. Bhe - “bae”

Tagalog has borrowed the English term of endearment “bae”, but has given it a new spelling--bhe

123. Irog - "my one true love"

Irog, is close to "darling" but can carry more power. It means "my one true love".

124. Jowa - “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”

When talking about a friend’s partner, you might use the word jowa. It comes from the Tagalog word which means “short time” and it implies that the relationship won’t last long or isn’t serious. 

Thai Terms of Endearment

125. ที่รัก (tîi rák) - “dear”

Someone who is your “dear”, “darling” or “love” is ที่รัก in Thai. 

126. คนดี (khon dii) - “my love”

The Thai term of endearment คนดี can be used with either a male or female, and has very loving undertones. It can also be used with children. 

127. หวานใจ (wǎan jai) - “sweetheart”

You can also call someone your “sweetheart” in Thai using หวานใจ. 

128. ดาหลิง (daa-lǐng) - “darling”

This Thai term of endearment is a borrowing from English and sounds much like its counterpart. 

Turkish Terms of Endearment

129. Aşkım - “my love”

In Turkish, you can call someone “my love” as a term of endearment.

130. Gözlerim - “my eyes”

You can also use “my eyes” to refer to someone you care about in Turkish.

131. Nefesim - “my breath”

In English, we often say that someone we love is our “reason”. In Turkish, you might say they are “my breath”.

132. Canım - “my life/my soul”

If you feel so strongly about someone, you might say they are your “life” or your “soul” in Turkish.

Vietnamese Terms of Endearment

133. Mình em / Mình anh - “myself”

When you feel so strongly about someone that they are part of your identity, you may call them “myself” in Vietnamese. 

134. Nhà em / Nhà anh / Nhà tôi - “my home”

The Vietnamese word for home is nhà. When you refer to your home, you’re not actually talking about home, but your husband or wife.

135. Anh em 

In Vietnamese, a woman calls her husband anh. It implies her husband is older than her, even if that is not actually the case.

136. Ông xã / bà xã

This term of endearment is used to refer to one’s husband or wife with a touch of humor. 

What about you?

What terms of endearment do you like to use in the languages that you speak? Are there any that I've missed? What are the most interesting or amusing terms of endearment you've heard? Let us know in the comments.

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