129 cute Italian nicknames & terms of endearment: A fun guide


Tinamaria Colaizzi

Amorino. Cucciolo. Mostriciattola! These are just three cute Italian nicknames that sound just as fun as they look. Curious to know what they mean? You’ll find their meanings along with 126 more Italian nicknames waiting for you in this article!

Using Italian terms of endearment can help build familiarity with new friends (and potential romantic interests!) while also enhancing your vocabulary and building your confidence in Italian.

In this article, you will learn:

  • How to make your own nicknames by changing the endings of words
  • Cute nicknames in Italian for your significant other
  • Italian terms of endearment for friends and family
  • Cute nicknames in Italian involving animals and food
  • Cool Italian nicknames in slang that you can use with friends

Oh, and I almost forgot: you’ll also find numerous ways to show affection to your pets!

Are you just starting your Italian language journey? Download our complimentary Italian language essentials eBook here.

This lovely lady airkissing her puppy has plenty of nicknames in Italian for it and other pets.

Nicknames in Italian

Nicknames are very popular in Italian culture, and they’re great ways to express an emotional connection with friends and family. Certain terms of endearment can even change based on the different regions of Italy! For the most part, nicknames in Italian can involve shortening or adding a different suffix to a word. So, before we explore different nicknames in Italian, let’s examine how we can actually create them.

Diminutive forms

Throughout the article, many of the Italian nicknames and terms of endearment are words with diminutive (or augmentative) endings. Basically, changing the endings to words can intensify or add affection and emotion to them!

In Italian, the diminutive and augmentative endings also eliminate the need to always say piccolo (little) or molto (very) before a word. Keep this in mind when you see the English translations of Italian terms of endearment throughout this article.You could technically make anything into a nickname in Italian by adding a different suffix to the word. Let’s imagine that you have an inside joke with one of your amiciabout driving your little Fiat car around the Amalfi coast. To really drive the point home, you could call it a macchinina instead of just a macchina. And using these endings in nicknames comes with a bonus: they’re fun to say and they sound cute, too! So, the next time that your cat knocks over a vase, you could call him cativello instead of just cattivo. Your vase may still be shattered, but hopefully the cute name makes up for it! Of course, these endings will also need to match the gender and number of what you’re referring to. Check out our examples here, and look out for them throughout the article!

1. -ino / -ina / -ini / -ine


  • mamma → mammina (mother / mommy)
  • piccolo → piccolino (little / very little)

2. -etto / -etta / -etti / -ette


  • angiolo → angioletto (angel / little angel)
  • cugina → cuginetta (cousin / little cousin)

3. -ello / -ella / -elli / -ette


  • cattivo → cattivello (bad / a small, bad child or person - masculine)
  • cattiva → cattivella (bad / a small, bad child or person - feminine)

4. -uccio / -uccia / -ucci / -ucce


  • tesoro → tesoruccio (treasure / little treasure)
  • tesora → tesoruccia (treasure / little treasure)

5. -otto / -otta / -otti / -otte


  • bambolo → bambolotto (doll / little doll)
  • bambola → bambolotta (doll / little doll)

6. -acchiotto / -acchiotta / -accihotti / -accihotte


  • lupo → lupacchiotto (wolf / little wolf)
  • lupo → lupacchiotta (wolf / little wolf)

7. -iciattolo / -iciattola / -iciattoli / -iciattole


  • mostricio → mostriciattolo (monster / little monster)
  • mostricia → mostriciattola (monster / little monster)

Augmentative forms

If you have something “bigger” in mind, the following common endings can change the meaning of your nickname or word to big, very, or the superlative forms.Once again, you could create your own nicknames or fun versions of ordinary words by adding on these endings. So, the next time you’re at a trattoria with your amico and his portion of tagliatelle is bigger than expected, you could call it a piattone instead of just a piatto di pasta!


1. one / -ona / -oni


  • mamma → dormiglione (mother / big sleeper - masculine)
  • piccolo → dormigliona (little / big sleeper - feminine)

You might also notice -one / -ona used for affectionate terms, like micione (kitty/cat) or coccolone (someone/something that loves cuddles).

2. -acchione / -acchiona / -accihoni


  • furbo → furbacchione (sly / very sly)
  • furba → furbacchiona (sly / very sly)

Most / Superlative

3. -issimo / -issima / -issimi / -issime


  • bello → bellissimo (handsome / most handsome)
  • cara → carissima (dear / dearest)

Now that you’re familiar with how to alter words and create nicknames, let’s delve into our 129 different examples!

Friends who use terms of endearment in Italian are drinking rose wine and saying cheers.

Gender-neutral romantic nicknames in Italian

If you’re looking for some gender-neutral terms of endearment in Italian, then this table is for you. Whether you want to call someone your dolce metà or your splendore, you’ll have lots of romantic nicknames to choose from with this list! You could even pair them with all the different ways to say “Ti amo!”.

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciation
My other halfla mia dolce metàla ˈmia ˈdoltʃe meˈtadole-cheh meh-tah
My soulmatel’anima gemellalˈanima dʒeˈmɛllala-nee-ma je-mel-lah
My heartcuore mioˈkwɔre ˈmiokwo-reh mee-oh
My lifevita miaˈvita ˈmiavee-tah mee-ah
Ray of sunshineraggio di soleˈraddʒo di ˈsolera-joe dee so-leh
My sunmio soleˈmio ˈsoleme-oh so-leh
My treasuretesoro mioteˈzɔroˈmioteh-so-roe mee-oh
My loveamore mioaˈmoreˈmioah-mor-reh mee-oh
My splendorsplendoresplenˈdoresplen-doe-reh
Light of my lifeluce dei miei occhiˈlutʃeˈdei̯ˈmjɛi̯ˈɔkkiloo-che day mee-ay ok-key

Husband and boyfriend nicknames in Italian

This list contains the most classic, romantic nicknames for your husband or boyfriend, as well as some cute ones that you can have fun with, like mostriciattolo (little monster) and tesoruccio (little treasure).

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciation
Little loveamorinoamoˈrinoah-mo-ree-no
Little heartcuoricinokworitʃinokwo-ree-chee-no
My lovemio amatoˈmioaˈmatomee-oh ah-mah-toe
My kingmio reˈmioˈrɛmee-oh reh
Little treasuretesorucciotezoruttʃote-so-roo-cho
Little monstermostriciattolomostriˈtʃattolomos-tree-cha-toe-low

*Caro also means “expensive”, and “carissimo” can also be used to refer to something that is very expensive.

Italian nicknames for your girlfriend or wife

This list contains the feminine versions of the previous table as well as some common girlfriend-or-wife-specific nicknames, like stella (star) or fiore mio (my flower). Speaking of flowers, check out this Italian love song, Fiore Mio, to hear this romantic nickname in action!

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciation
Little loveamorinaamoˈrinaah-mo-ree-na
Little heartcuoricinakworitʃinakwo-ree-chee-na
My flowerfiore mioˈfjoreˈmiofyo-reh me-oh
My lovemia amataˈmiaaˈmatame-ah ah-mah-tah
My queenmia reginaˈmiareˈdʒiname-ah re-jee-na
Little treasuretesorucciatezoruttʃates-oh-roo-cha
Little monstermostriciattolamostriˈtʃattolamos-tree-cha-toe-lah
My pearlla mia perlalaˈmiaˈpɛrlala me-ah per-lah

Italian nicknames for your grandmother and other family members

This table contains many terms of endearment for people in your family, ranging from grandparents to pets. In fact, you’ll notice that many of the nicknames applied to babies are also appropriate for pets!

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciationUsually used for
Little treasuretesorinotezorinote-so-ree-noBabies, children, love interests, pets
Angelangeloˈandʒeloan-je-loBabies, children, love interests, pets
Little angelangioletto/aandʒoletto /ˈandʒolettaan-jo-leh-toe/an-joe-leh-tahBabies, children, pets
Little onepiccolo/aˈpikkolo / ˈpikkolapee-ko-lo / pee-ko-laBabies, children, pets
Very little onepiccolino/apikkolino / pikkolinapee-ko-lee-no / pee-ko-lee-noBabies, children, pets
My joyla mia gioialaˈmiaˈdʒɔjala mee-ah joy-ahBabies, children, love interests, pets
Sweetnessdolcezzadolˈtʃettsadole-che-tzaBabies, children, love interests, pets
Little queenreginettaredʒiˈnettare-jee-net-tahGirls, pets
Little kingpiccolo reˈpikkoloˈrɛpee-ko-lo rehBoys, pets
Sweet thingpippiˈpippipeep-eeBabies, children, pets
Rascalmonello/amoˈnɛllo/moˈnɛllamoe-neh-lo/moe-neh-laChildren, pets
Little butterflyfarfallinafarˈfallinafar-fa-lee-nahGirls, pets
Ladybugcoccinellakottʃiˈnɛllako-kee-nell-ahGirls, pets
Little flowerfiorellino/afjorellino / fjorellinafyor-eh-lee-noBabies, children, pets
Little beastbestiolino/abestjolino / bestjolinabeh-styo-lee-no / beh-styo-lee-naBabies, children, pets
Little cub/Little pup/Puppycucciolo/aˈkuttʃolo / ˈkuttʃolacoo-cho-low /coo-cho-laBabies, children, pets
Babybimbo/aˈbimbo / ˈbimbabeem-bo /beem-bahBabies
Little babybambolotto/abamboˈlɔtto / bamboˈlɔttabam-bo-lot-toe /bam-bo-lot-taBabies
Mother’s pet/Apple of mom’s eyecocca di mammaˈkɔkkadiˈmammaco-ka dee mah-mahBabies, children, pets
Father’s pet/Apple of dad’s eyecocca di papàˈkɔkkadipaˈpaco-ka dee pah-pahBabies, children, pets
Little shrimpscriccioloˈskrittʃoloskree-cho-lowBabies, children, pets
Fairyfatinaˈfatinafah-tee-naGirls, pets
Babypupo/aˈpupo / ˈpupapoo-poe /poo-pahBabies
Grandfather/Grandmothernonnino/anonnino / nonninano-nee-no /no-nee-naGrandfathers, grandmothers
Mother/Mommammina/mammaˈmammina / ˈmammamah-mee-nah /mah-mahMothers
Father/Dadpapino/papipaˈpino / ˈpapipah-pee-no /pah-peeFathers
Uncle/Auntzietto/adzjetto / dzjettazee-ett-oh /zee-ett-ahUncles, aunts
Cousincuginetto/akudʒinetto / kudʒinettacoo-gee-net-toe / coo-gee-net-tahCousins
Little brotherfratellinofratellinofra-tell-ee-noLittle brothers
Little sistersorellinasoˈrɛllinasor-rell-ee-nahLittle sisters
Trouble-makerscattivello/cattivellakattiˈvɛllo/kattiˈvɛllaka-tee-vell-oh / ka-tee-vell-ahTrouble-makers (affectionately)

Download our free Italian essentials eBook

Download Berlitz free Italian essentials eBook.

Funny Italian nicknames

This next set of nicknames includes terms of endearment that are downright fun to say! So that you don’t risk offending anyone, it’s worth noting that these nicknames should only be used with people that you’re very close with (or pets, of course). These should never be used in formal settings or offensively.

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciationUsually used for
Fleapulceˈpultʃepool-cheBabies, children, pets
Little fleapulcino/apulˈtʃino / pulˈtʃinapool-chee-no /pool-chee-naBabies, children, pets
Stinkerpuzzoneputˈtsonepootz-oh-neh(Used affectionately) Babies, children, pets
Slowpokelumaconelumaˈkoneloo-mah-coe-neh(Used affectionately) Children, friends
Someone who liespinocchiopiˈnɔkkjopee-knock-yo(Used affectionately) Children, friends
Stuffed animalpeluchepeluʃʃpe-looshBabies, children, pets
Puppetpupetto/aPupetto / pupettapoo-pet-toe /poo-pet-tahBabies, children, pets
A chatty personchiaccherone/akjakkjeˈrone / kjakkjeˈronakya-kye-roe-neh(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones
Foolish, thickheadedtontolino/atontolino / tontolinaton-toe-lee-no /ton-toe-lee-nah(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones
Mama’s boy / Someone very close with their mothermammonemamˈmonemah-moe-neh(Used affectionately) Children, friends who are close with their mothers
Someone who loves to sleepdormiglione/adormiʎˈʎone / dormiʎˈʎonador-me-lyo-neh / dor-me-lyo-nah(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones
Little darlingamoruccioamoruttʃoah-mo-roo-cho(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones
Little devildiavolino/adjavoˈlino / djavoˈlinadya-voh-lee-no /dya-voh-lee-na(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones, pets who seem to get into trouble often
Little draculadraculino/adrakulino / drakulinadra-coo-lee-no /dra-coo-lee-na(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones, pets who have dracula-like features, like fangs!
A cuddly personcoccolone/akokkoˈlone / kokkoˈlonacoc-co-low-ne /coc-co-low-na(Used affectionately) Children, friends, pets
A sly personfurbacchione/afurbakˈkjone/furbakˈkjonafoor-back-yo-ne/foor-back-yo-nah(Used affectionately) Children, friends, loved ones, pets or anyone that is clever or sly

Cute Italian nicknames: Food-inspired

Italy is known as the food capital of the world, so it makes sense that many nicknames involve food! All of these tasty terms of endearment could be affectionately used for close friends, children, significant others, and pets.

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciation
Meatballpolpetto/apolpetto/polˈpettapol-pet-toe /pol-pet-tah
Little meatballpolpettino/apolpettino / pol’pettinapol-pet-tee-no /pol-pet-tee-na
Little pastrypasticcino/apastitˈtʃinopastitˈtʃinapa-stee-chee-no / pa-stee-chee-na
Little cherrycilieginatʃiljeˈdʒinachil-ee-gee-na
Little sweetnesszuccherino/atsukkeˈrino/tsukkeˈrinazoo-ke-ree-no / zoo-ke-ree-na
Little onioncipollino/atʃipolˈlino/tʃipolˈlinachi-po-lee-no / chi-po-lee-na
Little cookiebiscottino/abiskotˈtino/biskotˈtinabees-ko-tee-no / bees-ko-tee-na
Little cheeseformaggino/aformadˈdʒino/formadˈdʒinafour-mah-gee-no / four-mah-gee-na
Little potatopatatino/apatatino/patatinapah-tah-tee-no / pah-tah-tee-na
Beanfagiolo/afaˈdʒɔlo/faˈdʒɔlafa-joe-lo / fa-joe-la
Little beanfagiolino/afadʒoˈlino/fadʒoˈlinafa-joe-lee-no / fa-joe-lee-na
Little strawberryfragolino/afraɡoˈlino/fraɡoˈlinafra-go-lee-no / fra-go-lee-na

Cute Italian nicknames: Animal-inspired

Just like the food-related nicknames, all of these cute Italian animal terms could be affectionately used for close friends, children, significant others, and pets!

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciation
Little monkeyscimmietto/aʃimmjetto/ʃimmjettasheem-yet-toe / sheem-yet-ta
Little fishpesciolino/apeʃʃoˈlino/peʃʃoˈlinapesh-oh-lee-no / pesh-oh-le-na
Little bearorsetto/aorˈsetto/orˈsettaor-set-toe / or-set-ta
Big bearorsacchiotto/aorsakˈkjɔtto/orsakˈkjɔttaor-sa-kyot-toe / or-sa-kyot-ta
Fawncerbiatto/atʃerˈbjatto/tʃerˈbjattacher-byat-toe / cher-byat-ta
Little lionleoncino/aleonˈtʃino/leonˈtʃinale-on-chee-no / le-on-chee-na
Little tigertigrotto/atiˈɡrɔtto/tiˈɡrɔttatee-grot-toe / tee-grot-tah
Deer/Buckleprotto/aleˈprɔtto/leˈprɔttale-prot-toe / le-prot-tah
Little cat /kittengattino/aɡatˈtino/ɡatˈtinaga-tee-no / ga-tee-na
Little cat / kittenmicetto/amitʃetto/mitʃettame-chet-toe / me-chet-ta
Little cat /kittenmicio/aˈmitʃo/ˈmitʃame-cho / me-cha
Little cat /kittenmicino/amitʃino/mitʃiname-chee-no / me-chee-na
Chickpulcino/apulˈtʃino/pulˈtʃinapool-chee-no /pool-chee-na
Rabbit / little bunnyconiglietto/akoniʎʎetto/koniʎʎettaco-neel-yet-toe /co-neel-yet-ta
Mousetopo/aˈtɔpo/ˈtɔpatoe-po / toe-pa
Little mousetopino/atoˈpino/toˈpinatoe-pee-no / toe-pee-na
Turtle / Slowpoketartarugatartaˈruɡatar-tar-oo-gah
Little pigmaialino/amajalino/majalinamy-al-ee-no / my-al-ee-na
Little sparrowpasserotto/apasseˈrɔtto/passeˈrɔttapas-ser-ot-toe / pas-ser-ot-ta
Little wolflupacchiotto/alupakkjotto/lupakkjottaloo-pah-kyot-oh /loo-pah-kyot-ah
Little wolflupino/aluˈpino/luˈpinaloo-pee-no /loo-pee-na

Cute dog and owner snuggling.

Slang Italian nicknames

If you’re heading out for an aperitivo with your Italian friends, be sure to keep this list in mind. These terms of endearment are commonly used amongst groups of friends (especially long-term friends) and are a great introduction into the ever-evolving world of Italian slang!

EnglishItalianIPA SpellingPronunciationUsually used for
Friendamico/aaˈmiko/aˈmikaah-mee-ko / ah-mee-kaFriends/Close friends
Attractive persongnocco/aˈɲɔkko/ˈɲɔkkanyok-ko/nyok-kaClose friends, when you want to compliment someone
Dude/Dudettezio/aˈdzio/ˈdziazee-oh /zee-ahClose friends
Close female frienddadaˈdadada-daClose female friends
Loveamo’ˈamoah-moClose friends/Significant others
Lovesami’ˈamiah-meGender-neutral for groups of close friends
Old friendvecchio/aˈvɛkkjo/ˈvɛkkjavek-kyo/vek-kyaOld friends, best friends
Sweet/Close friend (female)coccaˈkɔkkacaw-kaClose female friends
Guys (gender-neutral group of friends)raga’ˈraɡarah-gaGender-neutral for groups of friends
Brofratellofraˈtɛllofra-tell-ohClose male friends
Sissorellasoˈrɛllaso-rell-ahClose female friends
Nice bro / Cool brobella fratelloˈbɛllafraˈtɛllobel-lah fra-tell-ohClose male friends
Boss / Chiefcapoˈkapoka-poeClose friends

Ok, raga’, alla prossima!

Now that you have 129 different nicknames and terms of endearment ready to use, it’s time to implement them in conversation with friends and loved ones. And if you’re looking to dive deeper into all of those diminutive and augmentative endings, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check out more ways to study Italian online. See you for the next article, ami’!

Call Us


Find out more

Fill in the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss your learning options and answer any questions you may have.