List of 80+ Popular or Clever Terms of Endearment

Updated

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Do you like to come up with clever pet names for your family members? Maybe another family member has just come on board and you’re on the hunt for another term of endearment for the newest member of your clan.

Here are some popular pet names for just about any relative.

Terms of Endearment for a Mother or Grandmother

Look at the backs of old family photos, and you’ll see labels like “Thelma and Mumsy” or “Bertha and Nanny.” (Sometimes those pet names are chosen by the recipient, and other times the names are begrudgingly accepted over time.)

Here are some terms of endearments for moms and grandmas.

1. Mama

New mothers always want to hear sweet baby voices call out “Mama!” and if you’re a mom, admit it — you coached your baby to repeat the first syllable.

Those sweet babies often innocently respond with another word that sounds suspiciously like “Dada.” 

2. Mommy

“Mommy” is often used when your kids are young. In fact, your heart may break a bit the first time “Mommy” transitions to “Mom.”

3. Mum

Should you expect to hear more American children refer to their mothers as “Mum?” Probably not. This term is usually popular among children in other parts of the world.

4. Mumsy

“Mumsy” sounds fun, doesn’t it? You may not be as enamored with the nickname if you know that synonyms for the word include “dowdy” or “unfashionable.”

5. Marmee

Readers of “Little Women” will recognize “Marmee” as the term of endearment used by Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy.

Whether all New Englanders in the 1860s used that name for their mother or not, is it something you want to be called?

6. Grandma

It can be tricky to call both of your grandmothers “Grandma.” You may choose to add each grandma’s last name or other descriptors to the term to help differentiate between the women. 

7. Grammy/Grammie

No matter how you spell it, “Grammy” is a popular term of endearment for American grandmothers. 

8. Nana

“Nana” is a sweet-sounding term for a grandma. (Maybe it seems sweet because it is also how toddlers say “banana.”)

9. Meemaw

“Meemaw” is a term more common for “grandmother” in the southern part of the U.S. It’s a sweet nickname for a genteel southern lady.

10. Gigi/GG

Although some reserve the name “GiGi” for a great-grandmother, some grandmas choose to be called that by their grandchildren.

Perhaps those women like the easy pronunciation, or maybe they think the term is synonymous with a “great” grandma.

Tip: Planning on becoming a grandma soon? Gift your future grandkid a personalized gift reminding them of your love.

Terms of Endearment for a Father or Grandfather

It seems as if there aren’t as many variations for the word “dad” as there are for the word “mom.” We added some terms of endearment for grandfathers, too. 

11. Daddy

Toddlers often progress from “da” to “dada” to refer to that important person in their lives. Of course, “daddy” closely follows in the progression.

12. Pa

Although “Pa” may make you think of “Little House on the Prairie,” it’s an excellent term of endearment for a dad.

13. Old Man

It seems as if “old man” was a common term for dads in the 1950s and 60s. You might want to consult with your dad to make sure he’s okay with this nickname. 

14. Padre

English often borrows from other languages, sometimes without even knowing it. “Padre,” of course, means “father” in Spanish.

15. Pop

This term may have also been used more in past generations, but maybe you want to use it more in 2020. It’s a great term of endearment!

16. Gramps

“Gramps” pairs nicely with “Grammy.” Sometimes the grandkids are the ones who assign the term of endearment. 

17. Papa

“Papa” is a great term of endearment commonly given by toddlers. It’s easy for toddlers to say and sounds like a loving name for a grandfather.

18. Granddad

“Granddad” is a little less formal than “Grandfather.”

19. Pappy

“Pappy” is a great southern term that pairs well with “Meemaw.” Pappy is also the name of a brand of bourbon — perfect for a man who likes this particular type of drink.

20. Grandpa

“Grandpa” is probably the most common nickname and sounds pretty good to a large percentage of the population.

Terms of Endearment for a Son or Daughter

It may be less common to refer to a son or a daughter by anything but his or her given name. Here are some terms that you may consider using.

For other ideas, look back into your family tree. You may discover that Great Aunt “Sissy” actually had a given name. 

21. Sissy

It seems as if this term comes up a lot to refer to a daughter or sister. Sometimes the name sticks and it becomes an actual nickname. Others use it as a term of endearment.

22. Junior

Whether your male child is actually a “Junior” or not, some refer to their sons by this name.

23. Buddy

“Buddy” is often reserved for a small son. It’s a comfortable term that gives everyone in the family warm fuzzies.

24. Princess

People often refer to their daughters as “Princess,” though you don’t often hear sons referred to as “Prince.” 

25. Kiddos

Your teenagers may roll their eyes every time you use this term of endearment, but “kiddos” is a great way to refer to groups of younger kids. What other word is there to refer to both sons and daughters at the same time?

Terms of Endearment for a Partner or Spouse

Here are some more common terms of endearment for a partner. 

26. Sweetie/Sweetheart

“Sweetie” has never gone out of style. 

27. Honey

Why is it that sweet-tasting items are often used to refer to spouses? Don’t forget to include “Sugar” on your list.

28. Babe

Did Sonny and Cher invent this term of endearment? Or was it used before the song, “I Got You, Babe?” was released?

29. The Mrs.

At one point, it was common for men to refer to their wives as “The Mrs.” (It’s better than the “Old Ball and Chain.”)

30. Bae

“Bae” emerged through black slang in the early 2000s, appearing in hip-hop and rap lyrics in 2005 and spread into the mainstream in the 2010s. It’s a shortened word for “baby” or “babe.”

Terms of Endearment for Babies

People can sound so funny when they talk to babies. In fact, some of the terms people use for babies are made-up. 

31. Pumpkin

Why people began to refer to babies as orange, round vegetables is anyone’s guess. “Pumpkin” just seems like the right word to refer to a baby.

32. Cutie Pie

Again, you may wonder about people’s affinity for using the names of desserts to refer to those you love. 

33. Sweet Pea

You might refer to small, round vegetables to refer to your sweetie, too!

34. Chunky Monkey

It’s entirely appropriate to call an infant with rolls of fat a “Chunky Monkey.” Just don’t use that same term for your wife.

35. Dumpling

Just like “Chunky Monkey,” “Dumpling” is another way to refer to a cute, plump baby.

Terms of Endearments for Pets

Let your pets know you loved them. You can give them a nickname based on their breed, temperament, or quirks.

36. Buddy

Yes, we know we used “Buddy” as a term of endearment for a son, but you know you call your dog this term as well. 

37. Lovergirl/Loverboy

Our pets steal our hearts. All it takes is one look at their soulful eyes and we are theirs forever.

38. Girl/Boy

“Go get your bone, girl!” “You’re a good boy!” You know you’ve used “girl” or “boy” to refer to your pets.

39. Bub/Bubba/Bubby

Although we can’t imagine anyone using “Bub” to refer to a female cat, it would definitely be a fitting term of endearment for a male pet.

40. Lady

Whether “Lady” is your pet’s name, some dogs have such a regal appearance that you can’t help but call them by this term.

Romantic Terms of Endearment

Are you shopping around for a new romantic term of endearment? You might want to run a few past your loved one to check out the response. After all, you don't want your romantic gesture to irritate the person you love.

Here are some romantic terms of endearment.

41. Sunshine

We like the use of "sunshine" as a romantic nickname. The word connotes warmth, brightness, and vivacity. It could easily be used for a child as well.

42. Pookie

People use "pookie" as a term of affection. But unfortunately, it does have additional meanings. Consult slang or urban dictionaries if you’re curious.

43. Boo

In some circles, "boo" describes the sound a ghost makes. Others label their romantic partner as "boo."

44. Schmoopie

We added this term to our list for two reasons. First, Seinfeld fans will remember the episode where Jerry's friends become irritated at his outward displays of affection for his new girlfriend. Jerry and his girlfriend call each other "schmoopie" while cuddling and kissing in front of George, Elaine, and the rest of the coffee shop.

The second reason it made the list is that it illustrates the point that your term of endearment can be a made-up word. 

45. Angel

One benefit of using "angel" as a nickname is the term is used in many romantic songs. However, perhaps one drawback of this word is that some people refer to their deceased loved ones as angels. 

46. Snookums

Hopefully, your gag reflex has not yet been triggered by our list. However, we understand the phrase "snookums" might put you over the edge. 

47. Toots

We're not sure if this term of endearment sounds too dated for modern audiences, but we thought we'd include "toots" on our list. 

Terms of Endearment for Best Friends

We have already included "bae" on our list as a term of endearment for a partner. However, It could also be used as a label for a best friend. While some best friends have rude nicknames that we won't be printing in our blog, others use terms of endearment similar to the following.

48. Bestie

This term of endearment is sweet and to the point. 

49. Shug

Short for "sugar," this term of endearment would also work as a nickname for a romantic partner.

50. Queen

Does your best friend command respect? "Queen" works as a term of endearment for someone you admire.

51. Gangster

Yes, it's an odd nickname, but it works well for some.

52. Shorty

Some nicknames come from physical attributes. For example, you might call a friend "shorty" if they aren't tall and have a good sense of humor. This nickname may also be used ironically.

53. Tex

Some nicknames come from the place a person originated. For example, you might call a friend "Jersey" or "Hawkeye."

54. Girly

"Hey, girly! What's up?" This sounds like a natural way to begin a text, doesn't it?

55. Ride or die

This term may not promote healthy relationships. After all, implying that you will be there for a friend at all costs may cause concern. However, when used lightheartedly, the term "ride or die" is a fun way to refer to your friend.

56. BFF

We all know that BFF stands for best friend forever. This optimistic term of endearment may be the perfect label for someone who gets you as no one else does. 

57. Bud

Short for "buddy," "Bud" might work as a term of endearment for your best friend. Of course, the name also works well for a dog, which might, in fact, be your best friend.

Funny Terms of Endearment

We think a lot of these terms on our list are funny. Many nicknames get their origins from humorous situations. Here are some other nicknames you might find amusing.

58. Twig

Names that refer to someone's body shape or size aren't very nice. However, some people don't have a problem with these terms of endearment. But, of course, some of these nicknames are ironic.

59. Squirt

A "squirt" usually refers to a person younger and less experienced than you. 

60. Derp

The word "derp" is typically used to describe a situation or person that is stupid. Again, this isn't a particularly nice nickname.

61. Buttercup

The term "buttercup" can be sweet and romantic, but the word also has a funny ring to it. 

62. Goofball

You could also use the term "goofy" to lovingly poke fun at your best friend.

63. Tater

We aren't sure where this came from, but referring to someone as a “tater” or “tater tot” has become popular. 

64. McLovin

Those who’ve seen the movie Superbad will appreciate this nickname.

65. The Dude

Speaking of movie nicknames, “The Dude” is a recognizable nickname for someone who is a fan of The Big Lebowski.

66. Dirty Harry

We seem to be on a movie tangent. However, "Dirty Harry" could be a nickname for a no-nonsense tough friend (or a friend with the opposite personality).

67. Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity

Sometimes advertising companies do a great job creating phrases that stick with people for decades. This phrase refers to an IHOP advertising campaign from decades ago, but it still pops up now and then as a term of endearment. 

Spanish Terms of Endearment

As a non-Spanish speaker, I had to get online help with these Spanish terms of endearment. However, whether you speak Spanish or not, many of these terms will look familiar to you since some of our English words have similar origins. 

68. Tío/Tía 

Tio and tia translate to "uncle" and "aunt." However, they are also apparently used as terms of endearment for non-relatives. 

69. -ito/ita

One blogger refers to "-ito" and "-ita" as diminutive suffixes. These suffixes can be added to existing words to sound more affectionate. For example, "esposa" means "wife." Adding "ita" to the word doesn't change the meaning, but it makes the term sound more affectionate. This may be similar to calling your partner "wifey" or "hubby."

70. Cariño 

Apparently, the word cariño means "darling" and can refer to both a man or a woman.

71. Bebé 

Cognates are words that are related in origin to another word. An example of this is bebé and baby. In both Spanish and English, the term can be used as a term of affection. 

72. Cielo 

Cielo translates to "sky." While the English word "sky" isn't often used as a term of endearment, it is used in the Spanish phrase mi cielo to express affection.

73. Dulzura 

Not surprisingly, the love of sweets crosses cultures. Dulzura is the Spanish word for "sweetness." It is also used as a term of endearment or affection. 

74. Amor 

Amor means "love." You'll learn more about cognates when you see a similar word pop up on our list of Italian terms of endearments.

75. Corazón

When you call someone "corazón," you are literally calling them "heart." Although we don't hear the word "heart" used as a term of endearment very often in English, we use other forms of it, such as "sweetheart."

Italian Terms of Endearment

Lovers of movies that celebrate Italian culture may already know some of these terms of endearment. They are also found in songs sung by Dean Martin and other Italian-American singers. 

76. Dolcezza

Italians also appreciate sweet treats. Dolcezza translates to "sweetness" and acts as a term of endearment. 

77. Amore 

Unsure of the meaning of the Italian word "amore"? Let's use the lyrics to the Dean Martin song "That's Amore" to describe it:

"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie –
That's amore. 
When the world seems to shine like you've had too much wine –
That's amore."

78. -ino / -ina

Adding the suffixes -ino or -ina to an Italian word makes the term more endearing. Many Italian words are used as terms of endearment by adding these suffixes. 

79. Fragolina

This word translates to "little strawberry." While calling someone a fruit may sound strange to English speakers, don't forget that we sometimes refer to our loved ones as "pumpkins." Would you rather be a tiny, sweet fruit or a large, orange, round gourd? 

80. Stella/stellina 

Stella is the Italian word for "star." Adding "ina" to the end of the word makes the word a term of endearment. 

81. Tesoro

Tesoro translates in English to "treasure." This term isn't used often as a term of endearment in English, but we could get behind this usage.

82. Cuore Mio

We're not sure why but "cuore mio" sounds much more romantic than the English translation "my heart."

83. Amore Mio 

We already included "amore" on our list. "Amore mio translates to "my love."

Pick the Right Nickname

Did this list give you a trip down memory lane? Some of the terms of endearments on the list may have made you think of a beloved family member

You may not be able to choose your own nickname but you can make your own choices on whether you wish to be buried or cremated. Begin your end-of-life planning today so your “snookums” or “honey bunch” doesn’t have to make those difficult decisions after you die. 

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