59 Cute nicknames from around the world (& their meanings)

January 31, 2024

All around the world, people love to tell their favourite people they care about them – and while some choose to say “I love you” all the time, many also use cute nicknames. 

From sweet names for boyfriends and girlfriends, to pet names for children and friends, to downright nonsensical nicknames for anyone in your life, we’ve put together a list of our favourite cute nicknames in some of the world’s most spoken languages

Now all you have to do is decide which ones you’re brave enough to try out on your loved ones!

59 Unique cute nicknames for your friends, family and lovers

14 Cute English nicknames

As the language of William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde and Beyoncé, there are many great ways to show your affection in English… without resorting to any of these cringe-worthy pick-up lines

While we’ve compiled some of today’s most popular nicknames, you could find many more off the beaten track. In English, just about anything can be an endearing nickname if you add the right compliment. 

Not sure about that? Think of the creative compliments from Shakespeare – like “sweet wag” and “dainty duck” – not to mention the totally off-the-wall nicknames given by Leslie Knope in the series Parks and Recreation – nicknames like “brilliant, sexy little hummingbird”, “beautiful, rule-breaking moth” and “rainbow-infused space unicorn”. They’re weird, but they work.

Here are 14 great English nicknames and how to use them:

English nicknames and usage

NicknameKidsSOs (Significant Others)Friends
Cuddle bunny 
Cutie patootie 
Honey (or hun over text) 
Hot stuff 

And of course, if you’re looking for something purely romantic – if a little cheesy – you can always tell your partner they’re your soulmate or the love of your life. But watch out – these words are heavy hitters in the English language of love, so you’d better mean them!

Did you know?
In most languages, including English, nicknames are typically reserved for close friends, partners and family members.

So our general tip? Try not to use these cute nicknames, as great as they are, in a formal setting, or with complete strangers. 

Of course, there are always a few exceptions. Say, for example, you find yourself in the north of England: depending on the place, it’s perfectly normal (polite, even!) to call a woman you’ve just met anything from “love”, to “duck”,  to our personal favourite, “petal”.

10 Cute French nicknames

When it comes to fun and creative nicknames, the French may just have the market cornered. 

From nonsense words to food-centric nicknames to romantic pet names, the French language has too many cute nicknames for boyfriends, girlfriends, loves and family members to count. 

But we managed to whittle down our list to 10.

French nicknames and usage


L’amour de ma vie

The love of my life
Mon angeMy angel  
(for girls only)
[Mon] chéri (for men & boys)
[Ma] chérie (for women & girls)
[My] dear 

The French typically use “my dear” for kids, but just “dear” for significant others. 
Mon chouMy cabbage 
Mon cœurMy heart 
DoudouSweetie, darling, cuddly thing (no literal translation) 
Mon petit loup (usually for boys only)

My little wolf
Poulet (for men & boys)
Poulette (for women & girls)
Pet, chicken 
PoussinLittle chick  

An honourable mention must go to the wide variety of options for romantic nicknames centered around chou.

Mon chou (meaning both my sweet bun, as in chou à la crème, and cabbage) mon chouchou, ma chouchoute, even jokingly mon petit chou-fleur, which means “my little cauliflower”. 

And when it comes to slightly unflattering options, ma puce is a common and tender nickname for one’s wife or daughter en français. It just happens to mean “my flea”.

9 Adorable (& small!) Spanish nicknames

¡Mi amorcito! 

Moving on to cute nicknames in Spanish, where the diminutive – aka, all things miniscule – is king. 

Whether you’re talking to a child or your schnookums, calling them your little – well, just about anything – using the appropriate suffix is a perfect term of endearment. 

Popular examples include bebecito/-cita (little baby), abejita (little bee) and even pastelito (which technically means a little pastry, tartlet, little pie or muffin – but is used like sweetie).

But there are many more wonderful things to call your girlfriend (or, you know, other loved ones) in Spanish than that! 

Here are nine great options:

Spanish nicknames and usage

Amorcito My little love 
Chico (for men & boys)
Chica (for women & girls)
Boy, girl
✔ (for children, chiquito & chiquita, too)
Mi corazónMy heart 
Hermoso (for men & boys)
Hermosa (for women & girls)
Beautiful, gorgeous
Guapo (for men & boys)
Guapa (for women & girls)
Handsome, good-looking, bold
Mi media naranjaMy half an orange (like my other half)  
Mijo (for boys) 
Mija (for girls)
My son, my daughter 

Used by other older relatives, as well
Mi rey (for men)
Mi reina (for women)
My king, my queen  

Cute nicknames are fun, but do you know what’s even better? Learning a new language. 

Whether you want to express your affection in French, German, Japanese, or any other of our 12 languages, you can start learning for free on Busuu today.

12 Creative & cute Italian nicknames

Let’s face it, the Italian language can make just about anything sound romantic. 

Topolino sure sounds better than “Mickey Mouse”, and who wouldn’t rather say allora than “well” or “um”?

Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that the denizens of Rome have as many creative words for their loved ones as they do for pasta shapes.

We’ve chosen 12 popular and adorable nicknames from the Italian language.

Italian nicknames and usage

Amore (mio)(My) love
Bello, bellaBeautiful  
Carino, carinaCute 
Caro, caraDear  
Cucciolo/cucciolotto (for men & boys)
Cucciola/cucciolotta (for women & girls)
Puppy, little puppy 
Cuoricino (for boys only)Little heart  
Dolce metàSweet half  
Fragolina (for girls only)Little strawberry  
Orsacchiotto, orsacchiottaBig, fluffy teddy bear  
Piccolo (for men & boys)
Piccola (for women & girls)
Little one 
Tesoro, tesorinoTreasure, little treasure
Topolino, topolinaLittle mouse  

5 Slightly more formal, but sweet Japanese nicknames

If you’re looking for hot, steamy names to call your boyfriend, Japanese might not have what you’re looking for. 

While less common now, even recent generations of women would call their husbands by their family names with the suffix -san, equivalent to Mister. The culture around the language is simply a little bit more formal.

In fact, a recent Japanese study found that the majority of women would prefer not to be called by any nickname by a romantic partner, but simply by their given name, the switch to a given name being in itself a sign of closeness and familiarity. But that doesn’t mean there are no nicknames whatsoever!

Nicknames in Japan are largely formed by adding suffixes or playing with someone’s first and last name to create a pun or a cuter, more kawaii (かわいい) sound. And there are a few nicknames like “darling” – many of them loosely borrowed from English.

Let’s take a look!

Japanese nicknames and usage

あなたAnataYou (polite)  
ちゃん, くん-chan (mainly for women or small boys) 

-kun (for men)

Most popular suffixes (added to the given name) for an SO or close friend

たん, にゃん

-tan, -nyan

Cutesy suffixes (added to the given name) in a private setting for an SO or a close friend







Did you know?
If you want to invent your own nicknames for friends and family or start using -chan and -kun in your closest friendships, you can do that. Just remember that it’s up to whoever is older in your relationship to take the lead on what kinds of names are appropriate.

And one more thing: if you’re younger, don’t call a boss -chan or -kun, even if they say it to you – it’s for juniors when used in a work environment.

9 Unique German nicknames

Last, but certainly not least, the German language has plenty of cute nicknames for boys and girls (and everyone else, too).

While many cute German nicknames have familiar themes – sugary sweet nicknames, it seems, are universal – the German language also has several delightfully creative and unique nicknames to call your loved ones.

German nicknames and usage

Hase, HäschenRabbit, little rabbit


mein HerzMy heart  

Kuschelbär (typically for men)
Cuddle bear  
LieblingDarling, favourite 

Maus, Mäuschen (typically for women & girls)

Mouse, little mouse (Mäuschen is the nickname commonly used for young girls)


Schatz, Schatzi, Schätzchen

Treasure, love (particularly common among parents and children)

Schnucki, Schnuckiputzi

Nonsense, something between cute and sweet, schnookums

Stern, SternchenStar, little star 
Süße, SüßerSweetie


And there you have it, meine Lieblinge. Now you have 59 new, unique and adorable nicknames to call the special people in your life, from bambinos to your dolce metà

Express your love in six different languages and they’re sure to see how much you care.

Want to keep the learning going?

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