List of 40 Popular or Clever Terms of Endearment


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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