Honey. Sweetie. Sugar pie. Cutie. Bae. Boo. There are plenty of names to use for your significant other (SO) in English. How about in Spanish, the romance language of love? Remember when we talked about 10 beautiful Spanish phrases for Valentine’s Day? Or when we came up with 15 ways to say “I love you” in Spanish? Obviously, when love is in the air, the Spanish language provides ways to express it. Whether your partner is a native Spanish speaker or your partner is learning Spanish at home, here are 15 Spanish pet names for your partner.
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Affectionate nicknames for friends
Most pet names are for a romantic partner, but many Spanish-speaking cultures around the world are affectionate even with friends. There are cute Spanish nicknames for platonic friends that don’t necessarily mean you are in a romantic relationship. Here are Spanish names to call your friends.
- Tía/Tío – literally aunt/uncle (a lot like ‘lads’ and this is something Spanish people always say)
- Jefa/e – boss
- Chula/o – girl/dude
- Conejita/o – little bunny
- Guapa/o – good-looking (yes, we swear it’s platonic)
Spanish pet names for your partner in public
If you are dating casually or seriously, it’s normal to come up with cute pet names for your love interest. Here is a list of cute Spanish nicknames that you can use for your boyfriend, girlfriend or romantic partner in public.
- Amor – love
- Corazón – heart
- Cariña/o – darling
- Mi reina/rey – my queen/king
- Mi alma/vida/cielito – my soul/life/heaven
Romantic names for your SO in private
Some Spanish nicknames aren’t meant for everyone to hear. Some are too racy. Others are too cringe-y for even your best friends to know about. As a fully-grown adult at the Tesco, you might hide in the frozen food aisle if you hear your SO calling out “Big Boy” across the shop, right? At home it’s sweet, but in public sounds like a cheesy chat-up line in Spanish, Here are a few nicknames you can use on your significant other in private.
- Papi chulo – stud (nickname for men, cringe because it sounds sexy/racy)
- Mi amada/o – my beloved (cringe because it sounds so sincere)
- Princesa/Príncipe – princess/prince (cringe because it sounds more childish than queen/king)
- Baby/Guagua in Chile only – baby (very cutesy depending on context)
- Mi sirenita – my little mermaid (cheesy)
Whether you are talking to a dear friend, your significant other at the Tesco, or your partner at home, remember to get the gender of the Spanish pet names right. We covered the traditional rule about gendered nouns in our Spanish grammar basics.
¡Ojo! (Look!) Pay attention to the use of gender neutral terms (Latinx, amigues) for people. This new linguistic dynamic is catching on in progressive social circles. Feminist academics and the LGBT community, who are careful to acknowledge the gender-non-binary, use –e ending instead of binary –a/-o female/male word endings in Spanish. Watch for a future post explaining this emerging trend, amigue! For now, just understand that you can use –e on any a/o-ending pet names above.
Of all the cute Spanish nicknames, which one is best for your partner? Which one do you want your SO to use for you?
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Alison Maciejewski Cortez is Chilean-American, born and raised in California. She studied abroad in Spain, has lived in multiple countries, and now calls Mexico home. She believes that learning how to order a beer in a new language reveals a lot about local culture. Alison speaks English, Spanish, and Thai fluently and studies Czech and Turkish. Her tech copywriting business takes her around the world and she is excited to share language tips as part of the Lingoda team. Follow her culinary and cultural experiences on Twitter.