Fell in love in Germany? Then you might wonder about German affectionate names. Yes, even in a language known for its harsh sounds and short commands, you’ll have many cute names to choose from. For example, you might not think of your loved ones as animals, but many German terms of endearment borrow from wildlife. And if you are thinking only cuddly things now, you are in for a surprise. To be fair, Germans try to give it a sweet touch with the frequently used diminutive. So what are some German terms of endearment?
- Schatz – treasure
- Maus – mouse
- Hase – bunny
- Bärchen – little bear
- Schnecke – snail
- Biene – bee
- Schnucki – (like sweetie)
- Engel – angel
- Perle – pearl
- Mäusebärchen – little mouse bear
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1. Schatz – treasure
Schatz is the most popular of all German affectionate names. It translates to treasure, gem or jewel and means just that: a person most precious to you. This can be your new boyfriend or girlfriend, your spouse or your children. The diminutives Schatzi or Schätzchen are used for men, women and children alike, in public or at home. It is not uncommon between girlfriends either. Some people even call their fur babies mein Schatz.!
2. Maus – mouse
This is one of the (in)famous German nicknames derived from the animal kingdom. While most of us think of mice as possibly disease-ridden vermin, the source of inspiration for this German term of endearment might be found in one of the many cartoons involving these little critters. Maus or the diminutives Mäuschen and Mausi can be used for women, men and children.
3. Hase – bunny
The same could be said of Hase. Most people would agree that a bunny is indeed really cute and even cuter when it is a little Hasi or Häschen.
4. Bärchen – little bear
This nickname in the German language is more suitable for your boyfriend. Bears are big and strong and have a protective and reassuring side. They are also soft and cuddly animals we want to snuggle up to.
5. Schnecke – snail
For real? Where is the cuteness in a snail? While we might never find the source for one of the stranger German terms of endearment, it is used quite a lot for women. Sometimes you will hear the diminutive Schneckchen, which doesn’t make the animal any cuter. A word of warning: Only use this one in a relationship. In a pickup line, it shows a lack of respect for the woman you’re addressing.
6. Biene – bee
This one is actually not used so much. Not anymore, at least. The phrase flotte Biene is a somewhat old-fashioned expression for an attractive woman. While you probably won’t ever hear it these days, you could still use Biene or Bienchen for your girlfriend.
7. Schnucki – (like sweetie)
This very popular endearment isn’t even a real word. Its root seems to be the adjective schnuckelig, which means something between pretty, sweet, cuddly and small. In any case, it is the opposite of big and strong. Still, you can use it for women and men alike.
8. Engel – angel
Contrary to most of the art history, Germans picture angels as beautiful females. It is no surprise then how this term became an affectionate name for women, although it. The diminutive Engelchen is also popular.
9. Perle – pearl
While the pearl is a precious jewel, it is not a widely used German nickname for your loved ones. If you want to hear yourself called Perle, we recommend you visit the Ruhrgebiet (Ruhr Valley). Again here, do not use it as a pick-up line or call someone Perle you are not in a relationship with because it will come across disrespectful.
10. Mausebärchen – little mouse bear
Don’t Germans just love their compound words? We must admit, there are some impressive examples that could at least make you fall in love with the German language. On the sweet side of these is the word Mausebär(chen). Basically, you take the German nicknames Maus and Bärchen and put them together. This term is also often used for children. Many German couples also get creative and make up their own affectionate names. So don’t be shy and use your linguistic skills.
What do German lovers call each other?
German lovers will usually call each other Schatz. Schnucki, Maus, Hase and Bärchen are also very popular. Other German affectionate names are derived from rather peculiar animals, like the snail. Using the diminutive goes a long way to turn more or less anything into cute German words for partners, also of the same sex, children or even friends. The literal meaning of the nicknames is often less important than the tone they are spoken in.
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Sandra lives in Istanbul, together with her kids, cat and dog. As a historian she thrives exploring this ancient city with her two- and four-legged loved ones. Together, they also love to go on adventures through all of Turkey and its neighboring countries. The perfect opportunity to put all the language learning into practice. If she’s not on the road, Sandra is busy putting her experiences into writing as a freelance copywriter for the travel industry and everything related to language, culture and family. Her particular interest lies in providing information on animal welfare with her website contentrundumstier.de.