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!
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:
|Nickname||Kids||SOs (Significant Others)||Friends|
|Honey (or hun over text)||✔||✔|
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 this?
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”.
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.
L’amour de ma vie
The love of my life
|Mon ange||My 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 chou||My cabbage||✔||✔|
|Mon cœur||My heart||✔||✔|
|Doudou||Sweetie, darling, cuddly thing (no literal translation)||✔||✔|
|Mon petit loup (usually for boys only)||My little wolf|
|Poulet (for men & boys)|
Poulette (for women & girls)
An honourable mention must go to the wide variety of options for romantic nicknames centred 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”.
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:
|Amorcito||My little love||✔||✔|
|Chico (for men & boys)|
Chica (for women & girls)
✔ (for children, chiquito & chiquita, too)
|Mi corazón||My heart||✔||✔|
|Hermoso (for men & boys)|
Hermosa (for women & girls)
|Guapo (for men & boys)|
Guapa (for women & girls)
|Handsome, good-looking, bold||✔||✔||✔|
|Mi media naranja||My 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.
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.
|Amore (mio)||(My) love||✔||✔||✔|
|Cucciolo/cucciolotto (for men & boys)|
Cucciola/cucciolotta (for women & girls)
|Puppy, little puppy||✔||✔|
|Cuoricino (for boys only)||Little heart||✔|
|Dolce metà||Sweet half||✔|
|Fragolina (for girls only)||Little strawberry||✔|
|Orsacchiotto, orsacchiotta||Big, fluffy teddy bear||✔|
|Piccolo (for men & boys)|
Piccola (for women & girls)
|Tesoro, tesorino||Treasure, little treasure||✔||✔||✔|
|Topolino, topolina||Little mouse||✔|
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!
|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
Cutesy suffixes (added to the given name) in a private setting for an SO or a close friend
Did you know this?
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.
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.
|Hase, Häschen||Rabbit, little rabbit||✔|
|mein Herz||My heart||✔|
Kuschelbär (typically for men)
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, Sternchen||Star, little star||✔||✔|
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.
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