Babe, darling, honey, sweetie. If you’ve been around English speakers, you’ve heard all of these common terms of endearment. (You can also call them pet names.) We use them with our lovers, our families, our friends, and a few really friendly people sometimes even use them with strangers! But if you want to go beyond these standard terms of endearment, keep reading. I’m going to introduce you to six fun English terms of endearment that you can use instead of the popular pet names you already know. Because they’re a little less common, they are sure to make your loved ones smile!
Before we begin, let’s quickly review what a term of endearment is. A term of endearment is a word or expression that you use instead of someone’s name when you are talking to them in order to show love or affection.
Without a term of endearment ➡ Would you pass me the salt? / Would you pass me the salt, Beth?
Using a term of endearment ➡ Would you pass me the salt, sweetie? / Honey, would you pass me the salt?
Some people love pet names, and some people hate them…and some people take them way too far!
How do you feel about terms of endearment?
Do you love them or hate them?
Do you have any funny pet names for your sweetheart?
I’ll share the pet name my husband has for me in the comments! I hope you’ll share, too!
Okay, let’s get started! Six fun English terms of endearment just in time for Valentine’s Day!
1. Sweet Pea, Honeybun, and… Pumpkin?!
For whatever reason, we love to make pet names out of food. Maybe because nothing is better than food?!
Honey 🍯 is a common term of endearment, but three food-based pet names that are a little less overused are sweet pea, honeybun, and pumpkin 🎃.
Although, as Orny Adams points out, what brave—or foolhardy!— man first thought of calling a woman a pumpkin?!
BONUS VOCAB: foolhardy
Howdy, sweet pea! Give me a kiss before you leave!
Honeybun, would you mind picking up some grapes next time you’re at the store?
What are you up to, pumpkin? Want some company?
When people make fun of over-the-top pet names, they often choose to make fun of snookums because it has an overly sweet sound. It’s a pet name that we often use towards children, although we definitely use it with our romantic partners, too.
I actually like snookums, but I like to use it sarcastically. Because it is one of the most cloying of pet names, we can use it to be playful, goofy, or funny.
BONUS VOCAB: cloying
Don’t be mad, snookums.
Tootsie-wootsie was first recorded as a pet name somewhere between 1895 and 1900, and when we use it nowadays, it still sounds like slang from that era. We see this one a lot in old movies.
We also use tootsie by itself, but you have to be careful doing that. Tootsie most commonly means a sweetheart or a darling, but it can also refer to a prostitute!
Sometimes, men also say toots (pronounced to rhyme with puts) as a signal of disrespect when they’re talking to a woman. So, never say toots. It’s always disrespectful. (It isn’t common anymore, though. Woohoo!)
Sweet dreams, tootsie-wootsie.
4. Sweet Cheeks
I’ve saved the best for last! Sweet cheeks!
Sweet cheeks is a term of endearment that implies that the person you’re speaking to has a nice bottom.
From this definition, you might think that we use this word only with sexual partners or in a disrespectful way, but that’s actually not the case. We use it to be playful or affectionate. It’s meant to be humorous more than an actual reference to the quality of someone’s bottom. My mother and I call each other sweet cheeks, actually!
Get over here, sweet cheeks! Tell me about your day!
Thanks for checking out the post!
You’re done with Part 4 of our series on mastering love words in English! Good work! Below is a summary of what you’ve learned so far!
ADVANCED LOVE WORDS IN ENGLISH
Part 1: Vocabulary for Types of Kisses (5 words)
Part 2: Advanced English Words about Secret Meetings for Lovers (6 words)
Part 3: Quirky English Words for Lovers (6 words)
Part 4: Fun English Terms of Endearment (6 words)
SO FAR, YOU’VE LEARNED 23 ADVANCED ENGLISH WORDS ASSOCIATED WITH LOVE! RAWR!
Part 5: Seducer Synonyms (6 words)
Part 6: Colorful English Words for Irresistible Women (6 words)
Part 7: Advanced English Vocab for Romantic Valentine’s Day Ideas (5 words)
Part 8: Romantic English Songs for Your Valentine’s Day Playlist (no vocab, culture only)
Part 9: Affair Synonyms in English (5 words)
Part 10: Romantic Adjectives for Memorable Compliments (5 words)
Part 11: Funny English Euphemisms for Sex (5 words)
Part 12: Advanced English Words for Flirts (5 words)
Part 13: Cozy English Synonyms for ‘Cuddle’ (5 words)
Part 14: Fascinating Facts about Valentine’s Day (no vocab, culture only)