107 charming, weird and wonderful Spanish terms of endearment

Marco Monroy

You simply cannot communicate with Spanish speakers without using terms of endearment in Spanish.

If you’ve been learning Spanish for a little while, you’ve probably noticed that Spanish speakers love their terms of endearment. Spanish and Latin American cultures tend to be much warmer than those that speak Germanic languages, so this may come as a bit of a culture shock to you if you’re a native English speaker.

Terms of endearment are so important, in fact, that not using one can be considered rude in certain contexts. Learning a language also involves understanding the cultural sensitivities as well as norms and traditions, so this vocabulary list will give you many insights into Spanish speaking cultures.

And the best part? Affectionate words in Spanish are extremely customizable. In fact, we’ll teach you a couple of ways to turn any Spanish word into a term of endearment at the end of this blog.

Ready to get started? ¡Vamos, mis amores!

Terms of endearment in Spanish

Learning the terms of affection and fondness will take some practice, but you can master them in no time with enough perseverance. Just make sure you know when and with whom to use each term and you’ll be on your way to native fluency!

We’ll include some context for each term of endearment so you don’t have to worry about making a faux-pas. The last thing you want is to call your real mom your mamacita or something that would seem off-putting!

General terms of endearment

Spanish speaking cultures tend to be very indirect. That is, instead of showing their affection directly, they will show their love and affection through roundabout ways.

Terms of endearment in Spanish for boyfriend.

One of the most common ways to show love in Spanish is by referring to someone with an adjective. Things like “hey beautiful” or “hi cutie” can sound a little corny in English, but in Spanish, they’re totally acceptable ways to refer to a close friend or a romantic interest without telling them directly that you like them (romantically or not).

Check out the words below and feel free to combine them with a Spanish greeting or an adiós in Spanish.

EnglishSpanishIPA SpellingPronunciation
BeautifulHermoso/hermosaɛɾˈmoso/ɛɾˈmosaEr-mo-sa
HandsomeGuapo/guapaˈɡwapo/ˈɡwapaGoo-ah-po/goo-ah-pa
PrettyBonito/bonitaboˈnito/boˈnitaBo-nee-toh/bo-nee-tah
Pretty, cuteLindo/lindaˈlĩndo/ˈlĩndaLeen-do/leen-da
BeautifulBello/bellaˈbeʝo/ˈbeʝaBe-yo/be-ya
DearCariñokaˈɾiɲoCa-ree-nio/ca-ree-nia
BlondeGüero/güeraˈɡwɛɾo/ˈɡwɛɾagoo-eh-ro/goo-eh-rah
PreciousPrecioso/preciosapɾeˈsjoso/pɾeˈsjosaPray-see-oh-so/pray-see-oh-sa
CuteChulo/chulaˈʧulo/ˈʧulaChoo-lo/choo-la
Babe (female)NenaˈnenaNay-na
Babe (male)NeneˈneneNay-ne
HeartCorazónkoɾaˈsõnCoh-rah-son
YankeeGringo/gringaˈɡɾĩnɡo/ˈɡɾĩnɡagreen-go/green-gah

Terms of endearment in Spanish for boyfriend, girlfriend and romantic interests

Many people choose to learn Spanish in order to communicate with their partner. Others choose to learn Spanish so they can live in Spanish speaking countries. And if you’re single and move to a Spanish speaking country, you’ll very likely want to mingle!

Below, we’ll show you a few dozen cute names you can call your significant other, a person you’re seeing, or even someone you’re trying to woo. Many of these are terms of affection in Spanish for boyfriend or girlfriend, whereas others are only appropriate for casual encounters, so save the drama and make sure you read the context column!

Love in Spanish.

EnglishSpanishIPA SpellingPronunciationContext
LoveAmoraˈmoɾah-moreVery close friends, family or lover
Little loveAmorcitoamoɾˈsitoah-more-see-toeVery close friends, family or lover
DaddyPapiˈpapipah-peeRomantic unless used with your literal dad or a child
MommyMamiˈmamimah-meRomantic unless used with your literal mom or a child
DearQuerido/queridakɛˈɾiðo/kɛˈɾiðakay-ree-doh/kay-ree-dahWarm and casual
BabyBebébeˈβebeh-behCan be used romantically and platonically
KingReyˈrei̯rayCan be used with a (male) romantic partner or with boys
QueenReinaˈrei̯naray-nahCan be used with a (female) romantic partner or with girls
MommyMamacitamamaˈsitamah-mah-see-tahRomantic only, may be a bit vulgar
FatGordo/gordaˈɡoɾðo/ˈɡoɾðagore-doh/gore-dahCutesy way to call your partner (even if not fat)
SkinnyFlaco/flacaˈflako/ˈflakaflah-coh/flah-cahCutesy way to call your partner (even if not skinny)
Curly hairRicitosriˈsitosree-see-toesOnly applicable for someone with curly hair
TinyPichurripiˈʧuripee-choo-reeMostly used in Spain
BabeNenitaneˈnitanay-knee-tahRomantic
DollMuñeco/muñecamuˈɲeko/muˈɲekamoo-nye-coh/moo-nye-cahRomantic
MarshmallowBombónbõmˈbõnbom-bonRomantic
CutieLinduralĩnˈduɾalin-due-rahRomantic
My lifeVida míaˈbiða ˈmiavee-da me-ahRomantic or platonic with very close friends/family
CaramelCaramelokaɾaˈmelocar-ah-meh-lohRomantic
BiscuitBizcochobisˈkoʧobees-coh-choRomantic, may have sexual connotations
NymphNinfaˈnĩmfaneen-fahRomantic, may have sexual connotations
SweetnessDulzuradulˈsuɾadull-sue-rahRomantic
My tigerMi tigremi ˈtiɣɾeme tee-grayUsed romantically for men only
SugarAzúcaraˈsukaɾah-sue-carRomantic
My lightMi luz​​mi ˈlusme loozRomantic or platonic with very close friends/family
My other halfMi media naranjami ˈmeðja naˈɾãnxame meh-dee-ah nah-rahn-haExclusively romantic
My soulMi almamj ˈalmame all-mahRomantic or platonic with very close friends/family
PartyRungaˈrũnɡaroon-gahCasual
Little bearOsitooˈsitooh-see-toeCasual, used for men
Little cakePastelitopasteˈlitopass-tay-lee-tohRomantic unless used with children
Little eyesOjitosoˈxitosoh-he-toesRomantic, used for someone with striking eyes
Melon heartCorazón de melónkoɾaˈsõn de meˈlõncoh-rah-son deh meh-lonExclusively romantic

Terms of endearment in Spanish for family

Just as in English, you can very well refer to your family by their names in relation to you. However, what fun is there in that? Family is extremely important in Spanish speaking countries, so calling your family by their proper name may come across as cold and distant.

Instead, use some of these affectionate terms to sound like a true Spanish native speaker and nurture your relationships with your family!

Three generations of family members show affection towards each other.

EnglishSpanishIPA SpellingPronunciationContext
BossJefe/jefaˈxefe/ˈxefahe-feh/he-fahFor parents
SeniorViejo/viejaˈbjexo/ˈbjexavee-eh-ho/vee-eh-haFor parents
BossPatrón/Patronapaˈtɾõn/paˈtɾonapah-tron/pah-troh-nahFor parents
MomMaˈmamaFor mom
DadPaˈpapaFor dad
Brother/sisterManito/manitamaˈnito/maˈnitamah-knee-toe/mah-knee-tahFor siblings, abbreviation of hermanito
Sister-in-lawCuñisˈkuɲiscoo-nysUsed for sister-in-law, abbreviation of cuñada
Little bunnyConejito/conejitakoneˈxito/koneˈxitacoh-nay-he-toe/coh-nay-he-tahUsed for kids, grandkids
GrandmaAbueˈaβweah-boo-ehUsed for grandma or grandpa
My sunMi solmi ˈsolme solUsed for kids, grandkids
My little childMijito/Mijitamiˈxito/miˈxitame-he-toe/me-he-tahUsed for kids, grandkids

Terms of endearment in Spanish for friends

If you’ve just arrived in a Spanish speaking country, you may be surprised to find out just how many different Spanish terms of endearment for friends there are. The quintessential amigo will only get you so far, so make sure to learn a few more terms of affection in Spanish for friends to switch it up!

Terms of endearment in Spanish for friends.

Many of these are not just reserved for friends, and even strangers could use some of these with you on the street. This is because, in many Spanish speaking countries, the standard rule is to treat everyone as if they were your friends. So don’t be surprised if a complete stranger calls you one of these!

EnglishSpanishIPA SpellingPronunciationContext
DudeWeyˈwei̯wayMost common in Mexico, can be gender neutral with close friends
FriendParceˈpaɾsepar-sayMost common in Northern South America
Little friendParceritopaɾsɛˈɾitopar-say-re-toeMost common in Northern South America
BroBroˈbɾobroPronounced the same as English
FriendCompaˈkõmpacome-pahUsed for friends
CousinPrimo/primaˈpɾimo/ˈpɾimapre-mo/pre-maUsed for close friends
BroMano/manaˈmano/ˈmanamah-no/mah-nahUsed for close friends
TwinCuate/cuataˈkwate/ˈkwatacoo-ah-teh/coo-ah-tahUsed for close friends
BrotherCarnal/carnalakaɾˈnal kaɾˈnalacar-nal/car-nah-lahUsed for close friends
Guy/girlMuchacho/muchachamuˈʧaʧo muˈʧaʧamoo-cha-cho/moo-cha-chaUsed for strangers
DudeEseˈeseeh-sehUsed mostly by Chicanos in the United States
FriendPanaˈpanapah-nahUsed for friends
CrazyLoco/locaˈloko/ˈlokaloh-coh/loh-cahUsed for close friends
CountrymanPaisaˈpai̯sapah-e-sahUsed for friends, also to refer to people from your same country
UncleTíoˈtiotee-ohUsed the same as “dude” in Spain
DudeVatoˈbatovah-tohUsed the same as “dude” in Mexico
Brother-in-law/sister-in-lawCuñado/cuñadakuˈɲaðo kuˈɲaðacoo-nya-do/coo-nya-dahUsed for very close friends, even if not related by law
BlackNegro/negraˈneɣɾo ˈneɣɾaneh-gro/neh-grahUsed for people with darker skin
ChineseChino/chinaˈʧino ˈʧinachee-no/chee-naUsed for people with small eyes, not necessarily Chinese
BaldPelón/pelonapeˈlõn peˈlonapeh-lon/peh-lo-nahUsed for bald people
Guy/girlChico/chicaˈʧiko ˈʧikachee-coh/chee-cahUsed for acquaintances
Great guy/great girlTipazo/tipazatiˈpaso tiˈpasatee-pah-so/tee-pah-saUsed for people you consider to be amazing. Doesn’t have to be a close friend
ColleagueColegakoˈleɣacoh-leh-gahUsed for coworkers

Terms of endearment in Spanish for children

Children are often the most common receivers of terms of endearment. Even their names are often modified with a diminutive to show warmth and friendliness towards them. Even if you’ve never met the child before, you can use these terms for children without issue.

There’s no context column in this section because all of these can be used with children. Yes, you can call a child mijo even if he is not your son! Just keep an eye out for gender distinctions with children, as they’ll surely correct you if you don’t use the correct gender!

Young children kiss their father and say words of endearment in Spanish.

EnglishSpanishIPA SpellingPronunciation
My son/my daughterMijo/mijamixoˈmixame-ho/me-ha
AngelÁngelˈãnxɛlan-hell
TreasureTesoroteˈsoɾoteh-so-roh
My boy/girlMi niño/niñami niɲoˈniɲame knee-nyo/me knee-nya
Small childChiquillo/chiquillaʧikiʝoʧiˈkiʝachee-key-yo/chee-key-ya
MonkeyChangoˈʧãnɡochan-go
Short oneChaparrito ʧapaˈritocha-pa-ree-toh
My lifeMi vidami ˈβiðame vee-dah
My skiMi cielomi ˈsjelome see-eh-lo
TeenagerGurí/gurisaɡuˈɾiɣuɾisagoo-ree/goo-ree-sa
PrincePríncipeˈpɾĩnsipepreen-see-peh
PrincessPrincesapɾĩnˈsesapreen-seh-sah
Small oneChiquito/chiquitaʧikitoʧiˈkitachee-key-toh/chee-key-tah
Little chickenPollitopoˈʝitopoh-yee-toh
PuppyCachorrito/cachorritakaʧoritokaʧoˈritacah-cho-ree-toh/cah-cho-ree-tah
Little dovePalomitapaloˈmitapah-lo-me-tah
ChildBuquiˈbukiboo-key
ChildPequeˈpekepeh-kay
CheeksCacheteskaˈʧɛtescah-che-tess
Little wormGusanitoɡusaˈnitogoo-sah-knee-toe
Little bubbleBurbujitabuɾβuˈxitaboor-boo-he-tah
PreciousPechocho/pechochapeʧoʧopeˈʧoʧapeh-cho-cho/peh-cho-cha
ChampionCampeónkãmpeˈõncam-peh-on
Small oneChiquitínʧikiˈtĩnchee-key-teen
Little monkeyMonito/monitamonitomoˈnitamo-knee-toe/moh-knee-tah
Little bugBichitobiˈʧitobee-chee-toe
Little beanFrijolitofɾixoˈlitofree-ho-lee-toh
FleaPulgaˈpulɣapool-gah

How to use diminutives as terms of endearment in Spanish

One of the most popular ways to show endearment is through the use of diminutives. These can even be used on inanimate objects, so you can show endearment towards a thing just by turning the word into a diminutive!

This is one of the easiest ways to turn any word you’d like into a diminutive. If you have a special person in mind and want to call them by something other than the words outlined above, you can easily do so by turning any word into a diminutive.

How to turn a word into a diminutive in Spanish

Turning Spanish words into diminutives is incredibly easy. All you need to do is add a suffix to your Spanish word to turn it into an affectionate diminutive.

All diminutives end in one of the following:

  • ito
  • ita
  • cito
  • cita

To know which one to use, simply take a look at the following table:

Words that end inTurn into diminutiveExamples
A ORemove the last vowel and replace with -ito or -ita
  • Casa → Casita
  • Carro → Carrito
  • Perro→ Perrito
E N RAdd -cito or -cito at the end
  • Campeón → Campeoncito
  • Café → Cafecito
  • Corazón → Corazoncito
All other consonantsAdd -ito or -ita at the end
  • Ángel → Angelito
  • Pastel → Pastelito
  • Reloj → Relojito

Of course, there are some exceptions (as is usually the case with Spanish!), but the table above should help you get started with turning regular nouns into diminutives! Now you can turn almost any word into a term of endearment in Spanish by turning it into a diminutive.

How to use possessive pronouns as terms of endearment in Spanish

Another common way to show warmth and appreciation is to use a possessive pronoun (mi, tu, nuestro). If you’re not familiar with Spanish pronouns, feel free to check out our exhaustive guide on the topic before you keep scrolling!

Using possessive pronouns before your term of endearment can be a great way to show closeness to someone (not necessarily possession!). This can work with most nouns and virtually all the terms of endearment in this blog. Here are some examples:

  • Mi vida
  • Mi rey
  • Mi cielo
  • Mi corazón
  • Mi amigo

You can even turn people’s names into terms of endearment by adding a mi in front of their name! So instead of saying “Hola, George” you can say “Hola, mi George” to show warmth and appreciation!

Terms of endearment in Spanish FAQs

Why do Latinos nickname everyone?

Most Latin American countries are very warm. As such, words of endearment are not only common, but almost expected. You can even use words of endearment when talking to strangers or people you just met.

Another reason why words of affection and fondness are so common is that you can turn almost any word into a term of endearment in Spanish. Just make it a diminutive or use a possessive pronoun to turn your favorite noun into a term of endearment!

What is ese in Spanish?

Ese is a term of endearment used mostly by Chicanos in the United States to refer to friends or acquaintances. It is used very similarly to English words like “dude” or “bro” or even “homie.”

The word ese literally means “that one,” so by calling someone ese you’re essentially calling them the one!

How do you say bae in Spanish?

While there is no direct translation of bae in Spanish, there are many different terms of endearment that can fit the bill just as well! Next time you want to use a cutesy term of endearment for your bae in Spanish, try using one of the following words:

For guys:

  • Papi
  • Nene
  • Hombre

For girls:

  • Mami
  • Nena
  • Mujer

Gender neutral:

  • Mi amor
  • Mi vida
  • Corazón

¡Adiós, mis amores!

Group of friends share one last photo as a keepsake.

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, you’re now more than ready to strengthen your relationships with your Spanish speaking friends, family, and even romantic interests!

If you’re a native English speaker, introducing these words of endearment into your daily life might take a little bit of getting used to. Just remember that terms of endearment are a part of everyday life for most Spanish speakers, so don’t be shy in using them!

After all, getting out of your comfort zone is the best way to learn a new language. Whether you’re still a beginner at Spanish or are working your way to intermediate Spanish, you’re gonna have to learn to adjust your personality somewhat when you speak a different language.

That’s why Charlamagne, the former Holy Roman Emperor who reigned in the 9th century, said, “To have another language is to possess a second soul.” And who doesn’t need a little extra soul in their life?

If you enjoyed this blog, feel free to check out the rest of our wonderful (and free!) content in our Spanish blog! And if you really liked this blog, make sure to bookmark our Spanish blog as we upload new content every month.

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