Lauren and I recently became “parents” to a rescue puppy who we called Schatzi, which is a cute nickname in German meaning “little treasure”. Here’s me with our little bundle of love:
So to celebrate, I thought I’d put together a post about other cute nicknames from around the world.
Pumpkin, peanut, bubby, baby, babe, bae, honey, darling, sugar, sweetie, honey bunch… English is packed full of fun, creative, and cute nicknames to call your loved ones. From food, to animals, to just plain gibberish words – lots of us love giving a cute nickname to our significant other, family, friends and children.
And it’s not just English. In every language, people have terms of endearment to show their love and affection. Learning these can add new depth to your language learning – especially if you’re learning a language to speak with loved ones.
Learning cute nicknames is also a fun way to expand your vocabulary, and it develops your cultural understanding. Many of the words used as nicknames reflect social relationships, and are intertwined with the values of a particular culture.
Let’s get into it! Here are some cute nicknames from around the world.
Cute Spanish Nicknames
Spanish is known as a passion-infused language, so there’s no shortage of cute nicknames in Spanish!
Spanish has some creative pet names, such as mi perrito (“my puppy”), mi cielito (“my little heaven”), and amorcito (“little love”).
In English, you can say “you’re my better half”. In Spanish, you say media naranja, or “half an orange.” You can pull out cute nicknames for your girlfriend such as ojos de ángel (“angel eyes”), or mi reina (“my queen”). Likewise, you can call your boyfriend things like mi rey (“my king”) and mi sol (“my sun” – think of Khaleesi and Drogo here). Then there are the popular terms mi vida (“my life”) and mi corazón (“my heart”), both of which are gender neutral.
Spanish has plenty of cute nicknames for girls and boys, too. The most popular are chiquito and chiquita (“little boy” and “little girl”), or chulo and chula (“cutie”). You could address older kids, or even your friends, as chica and chico.
Examples of how you can use them:
- Hola, chica – “Hey, girl”
- Ven aquí, mi chiquito – “Come over here, little one”
- Eres mi media naranja. Te amo – “You’re my better half. I love you”
Cute French Nicknames
The French have tons of affectionate pet names they call each other! But some of them are a little less cute when translated to English. Nicknames like mon saucisson (“my little sausage”), mon petit chou (“my little cabbage” but used like “sweetie”), mon gros (“my fat one”), and ma puce (“my flea”) are a bit strange in English.
I don’t know about you, but being called a flea doesn’t sound all that affectionate!
But others are much cuter, such as ma fraise (“my strawberry”). Then there are names like mon amour (“my love”), mon ange (“my angel”), and ma chérie or mon cher (“my darling” for a woman and a man).
If there’s a French-speaking lady in your life, try out some nicknames like mon chat (“my cat”), ma belle (“my beautiful”), mon trésor (“my treasure”) or mon bijou (“my jewel”). There are so many different ways to address your loved ones in French!
For guys, there are the endearing terms mon prince (“my prince”), mon ours (“my bear”), or even mon loup (“my wolf”). If your husband is on the crotchety side, you could tenderly call him mon râleur – “my grumpy one.”
Looking for good nicknames to use for your kids? Try mon bébé (“my baby”), mon doudou (“my cuddly thing”), and mon cœur (“my heart”). Other fun names are mon petit monstre (“my little monster”) and mon vilain (“my naughty one”). They’re all used the same way as “sweetie” or “honey” in English.
Try expressing your love with phrases like:
- Je t’aime, ma belle* – “I love you, my beauty”
- Il est mon petit monstre* – “He is my little monster”
- Merci, mon loup.* – “Thank you, my wolf”
Cute Italian Nicknames
Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to be whispered sweet nothings in Italian? Italy is known for being warm and affectionate, and their nicknames help infuse that affection into the language.
You can watch almost any movie set in Italy and hear someone say “Mio amor!” – “My love”. This can be shortened to simply Amore or even Amo. Meanwhile in southern Italy you sometimes hear “Vita mia!” – “My life”.
Pet names, called nomignoli, are used freely and often for everyone, especially for children. There are tons of cute Italian nicknames for boys and girls. Parents can call their children cucciolo and tesoro, which is “puppy” and “treasure”. There are other fun ones, like bambino (“baby”), mimmo (“child”), or even the very signature Italian term, polpetto – “meatball.” All these are in the masculine “o” ending – you can change the “o” to an “a” to make it a feminine word when talking to girls.
With your significant other, you can use romantic terms like gioia mia (“my joy”), Biscottino (“little biscuit”), or Pasticcino (“cupcake”). You can even passionately exclaim, “Luce dei miei occhi!” (“Light of my eyes!”) when you see your loved one — although that’s often used more as a joke.
As for cute Italian nicknames for friends, you can use bella and bello (“beautiful” for women and men respectively), or cara and caro (“dear”). Young people will more commonly call their friends zia or zio (“aunt” or “uncle”). Some people will only call their closest friends these terms, while others refer to everyone with pet names like these.
Try them out in sentences like:
- Pensando a te, amore mio* – “Thinking of you, my love”
- Sei bellissima, cara* – “You’re beautiful, dear”
- Sei il mio mondo, topolino* – “You’re my world, little puppy”
Cute German Nicknames
There’s a surprising number of ways to express your affection and liebe auf Deutsch.
Granted, some German expressions may seem a bit odd to call someone. One of the most common and popular nicknames for women is Maus or Mauschen, which translates to “mouse” and “little mouse.” It’s common to hear a man call his wife or girlfriend that.
Even more interesting, the Germans have created their own hybrid animal nickname, which I personally love: Mausebär (“mouse bear”). Adorable, right?
Another good nickname for your boyfriend or girlfriend: Schnuckiputzi. A hybrid word, it stems from schnuckelig and putzig, which mean “cute” and “sweet”. So it's used like “sweetie” or the more fun “cutie-patooty.”
None of the above fit your love? Try cute couple nicknames like Honigküsse (“honey kisses”), Zuckerbienchen (“little sugar bee”), Perle (“pearl”), and Liebling (“darling”). You can even take it up a notch with Kuschelbär (“cuddle bear”).
Cute nicknames for children like Erdbeerchen (“little strawberry”), Bärchen (“little bear”), and Schatz (“jewel” or “treasure”) are common. That’s where I got the name for my new puppy Schatzi!
And you can always make a nickname even better by adding the diminutive, -chen or -lien. That basically just makes it extra cute and “little”.
Try them out with phrases like:
- Ich liebe dich so sehr Honigküsse*: “I love you so much, honey kisses”
- Mein schatz, komm hilf mir*: “My jewel, come help me”
- Du bist der beste, schnuckiputzi*: “You’re the best, sweetie”
Cute Japanese Nicknames
The interesting thing about Japanese is they don’t often use nicknames at all. The language is very formal – always referring to someone by their last name plus -san. For example, Mr. Tanaka is Tanaka-san.
So when it comes to expressing love, affection, and friendship in Japanese, it’s usually as simple as calling your significant other by their first name only. Using someone’s first name symbolizes a comfortable, mutual affection or friendship. Calling someone you don’t know by their first name is a big no-no in Japanese culture. Whoever has seniority in the relationship has to be the one to establish that it’s okay to be called by a less formal name.
But, the Japanese do have some cute nicknames. They love to make everything とてもかわいい (totemo kawaii, “very cute”). A common example is shortening a celebrity’s name: Hikki for Utada Hikaru, MatsuJun for Jun Matsumoto of Arashi, and Maririn and Meetan for Mariko Shinoda and Megumi Ohori from AKB48.
Japanese also has some pet names that they’ve borrowed from English, like ダーリン (darin, “darling”) and ハニー (hanii, honey). But it’s much more common to create cute names by shortening the person’s name and adding -chan, -kun, or -tan. Although the general rule of thumb is -chan for girls, -kun for boys, and -tan for gender neutral, it all depends on the person and situation.
In anime and video games, you'll often hear guys called “-chan,” and it’s very common to refer to a child by their first name plus -chan or -kun. But for adults, ask what they would like to be called.
There are some affectionate nicknames for spouses, too. A wife can address her husband as 旦那 (danna, “husband”) or 旦那さん (dannasan, which in this case adds cuteness). And a husband can call his wife 嫁 (yome, “wife” or “bride”). They’re as close to the English “hubby” and “wifey” as you can get in Japanese. And they are mainly only used during the honeymoon stage of a marriage. After that, things get a little more subdued with the standard 夫 (otto, “husband”) and 妻 or 奥さん (tsuma and okusan, “wife”). In Japanese, it’s not common to show much affection in public, and these terms are only used between the couple or with close friends and family.
Examples of how you can use them:
- おはよう、ともちゃん (Ohayou, Tomo-chan): “‘Morning, Tomo-chan!” (Nickname for a friend, Tomoyo)
- 旦那さんは今夜料理しています (Dannasan wa konya ryouri shite imasu): “My husband is cooking tonight”
- ハニー、大好きだよ (Hanii, daisuki da yo): “Honey, I love you”
Cute Korean Nicknames
As with Japanese, Korean has rules about calling someone by their first name only – and it’s not very common. How you address a person defines your relationship, and you must be on close terms to start calling them a nickname. But unlike Japanese, creative and cute nicknames in Korean are quite common!
A lot of times in K-dramas, you’ll hear couples call each other cute names like 귀요미 (kiyomi, “cutie”), 애인 (aein, “sweetheart”), or 여보 (“yeobo”, darling or honey, as a married couple). They even have a cute nickname for girls who whine – 찡찡이 (jjing-jjingi, “whiny”).
Other pet names include 자기야 (jagiya, “baby”) and 내 사랑 (nae sarang, “my love”). For husbands, you could say 오빠 (oppa, “honey”) or 왕자님 (wangjanim, “prince”). You could call your wife or girlfriend 공주님 (gongjunim, “princess”).
You can even call out the affectionate greeting, “안녕, 내 사랑!” (annyeong, nae sarang!, “hello, my love!”)
Ways to use these Korean pet names:
- 여보 난 당신을 사랑합니다 (yeobo nan dangsin-eul salanghabnida): “Honey, I love you”
- 나의 아름다운 공주님 (naui aleumdaun gongjunim): “My beautiful princess”
- 이봐 귀요미 (ibwa kiyomi): “Hey cutie”
Now Go Practise Them On Your Corazón, Bébé, or 내 사랑 (Sarang)!
I hope these nicknames from around the world will help you get more speaking practice with loved ones and build deeper relationships! After all, what’s more enticing to practise speaking than when you can see someone’s reaction to a lovely new nickname? So start sweet-talking away!
What other cute nicknames in these (or other) languages do you know of or like to use? Do you have a special pet name for your significant other? Tell us in the comments!
And finally... One of the best ways to learn a new language is with podcasts. Read more about how to use podcasts to learn a language.