Honey pot, buttercup, pumpkin—out of context, English nicknames can be corny or just plain weird.
And the more you think about them (by the way, we suggest that you don’t) the weirder they get.
If you think English is the language with the strangest inventory of nicknames, though, you are in for a surprise. Spanish, for example, has some of the most creative nicknames of any language. These are words that you can use when you want to say something cute to your partner, joke around with close friends, or even express irony.
Spanish nicknames are extremely versatile. They go from cute, to funny, to insulting. Thanks to the list of Spanish terms of endearment that we have prepared for you, you’ll have something nice (or not so nice) to say to everyone in your inner circle.
Chiquito can be used in Spanish both as an adjective and as a noun. Una caja chiquita, for example, is a very small box. As a noun, it means something like “baby boy/girl”, which means that this is the perfect nickname to use with children.
Looking for cute Spanish nicknames you can use with the people you love? You can’t do much better than corazón. This Spanish word literally means “heart”, so it makes a lot of sense that we use it to address the people that we feel closest to.
You can make this one more memorable by listening to Mina’s heartbreaking “Espérame en el cielo”:
Espérame en el cielo, corazón
Si es que te vas primero
(Wait for me in Heaven, darling
If you happen to go there first)
Like corazón, here’s another Spanish nickname you can use for people of all ages and genders. Meaning “beautiful”, this one can be used both as a nickname and as an adjective in phrases such as “¡Qué chula!” (How beautiful!). You can also use guapo/a (good-looking) or bello/a (gorgeous), with the same meaning.
Like many Spanish nicknames, güero refers to a physical characteristic of a person. Güero/a is a Mexican word that means “blonde or light-skinned”, and it’s affectionately used among family and friends to refer to someone who has fair hair or complexion. In other countries, such as Chile and Argentina, you can use rubio/a instead. The opposite would be morocho/a (brunette), also used as an affectionate nickname.
Cielo means “sky” or “Heaven”, so it’s easy to imagine why people would use this word to name someone they hold close to their hearts. It’s very common to hear this one said by parents to their children, and it’s also frequently used as a diminutive: cielito. It can even be combined with other words, as in cielito lindo (beautiful sky), or cielo mío (Heaven of mine).
The terms above are very cute, but if you’re looking for Spanish nicknames for a boyfriend or a girlfriend you’ll need to make a special effort.
No, don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered.
Apart from being a female name, alma means soul, which makes this nickname the perfect choice to address someone that means the world to you. If you really want to impress your partner, use this one while you gently place a hand on your chest.
It's no secret that bebé means baby, but lately, this word has become extremely popular as a romantic nickname. For English speakers, this might seem unsurprising. After all, we have been using “baby” as a term of endearment for decades, but Spanish has only recently caught up. In the past, people used to go for nene/a (child) or cariño (honey), but it seems that bebé is here to stay:
Looking for Spanish terms of endearment to make your significant other feel important? Then call them rey or reina. Meaning “king” and “queen” respectively, you can use these nicknames with a possessive adjective, as in ¿Cómo está hoy mi reina? (How is my queen doing today?).
Want to make your special other feel young as well as important? Then it might be better to go for príncipe (prince) or princesa (princess). You know, still members of the royal family, but usually younger. As with most Spanish nicknames for a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you can ornate this one with a possessive adjective, or go the extra mile and say something like mi princesa de ensueño (my dreamy princess).
Much like the English word “bonbon”, its Spanish counterpart refers to chocolate, but using the bombón as a nickname doesn’t (always?) mean that you want to eat your lover. It’s just a nice way of saying that their beauty is irresistible. Cute Spanish nicknames don’t get much cuter than this one, right?
Do you really wow your partner? Then, memorise this famous (and very sticky) Spanish compliment:
Tu mamá debe ser pastelera
Para hacer bombones como vos
(Your mom must be a great baker
Cause look what a delicious bonbon she made)
Hear it in the song below:
If you’re looking for cute Spanish nicknames to use with your parents, you can use the diminutives for mamá (mom) y papá (dad). The funny (creepy?) thing about these two is that, although we didn’t list them above, you can also use them to address your lover or someone that you feel attracted to!
Yes, viejo means old. And yes, it might be hard to imagine terms of endearment that contain this word at first. But think about English phrases like “my old man”. Aren’t they nice when used in the right contexts? Viejo and vieja are no different. You wouldn’t want to look at your father in the eye and say “hey, you do look old”, but saying viejo querido (my dear old man) while giving him a nice hug is widely seen as a very nice gesture in Spanish-speaking countries.
Cute Spanish nicknames are all very nice, but let’s face it. We don’t always want to go for something cute. If you’re looking for Spanish terms of endearment with an acid element in them, try one of these options:
In popular culture, foxes have always symbolized wit, guile, or deceit. Zorro, which literally means “fox”, is used to address someone who is just a little bit mean or is behaving cunningly.
Similarly, the word yegua (mare) is used to address a woman who is mean or insolent. The interesting thing about this one is that it can be used as an insult, but it can be said admiringly, as in “Ganaste de nuevo (you’ve won again), ¡qué yegua!”
In countries like Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay, a chusma is a nosy person who loves gossiping and talking behind people’s backs. So if your friend has just come to you with some hot, steaming tea, you can reply by saying that he or she is a chusma (a gossip).
Do you want to learn real, dramatic insults you can use to crush your enemies? Then check our favourite insults from Latin American telenovelas.
Will you be using any of our Spanish nicknames for a boyfriend or a girlfriend any time soon? Let us know about their reaction in the comment box below.
If you want to go beyond cute Spanish nicknames, why not take a few Spanish lessons with our native teachers?
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