Soul-Stirring Spanish Terms of Endearment for Anyone You Love
Terms of endearment express affection to everyone we love—to our pets, children, partners, friends, and relatives. Spanish speakers tend to be quite loving and affectionate gente, giving life to an inspiring collection of Spanish terms of endearment that fill the heart with joy.
In the Spanish and Latin American culture, expressing your care for another person is an essential part of daily life and a normal thing to do all the time. In every Spanish-speaking country in the world, un besito (a little kiss) on the cheek and un abrazo (a hug) are the most common ways of greeting one another and saying goodbye. It makes sense that Spanish speakers are so open in expressing their feelings for each other through terms of endearment.
It’s not only lovers and partners who use words of affection but also friends and family members. Even acquaintances and strangers often call each other amigo or amiga.
Each country has its own Spanish terms of endearment specific to that region. This list contains more or less universal expresiones de cariño, though some terms are regional (and noted as such).
38 Spanish Terms of Endearment
Spanish Terms of Endearment for Families
Families are tight-knit in Spanish-speaking countries, sparking a wide array of terms of endearment that they use between them. Here is a list of just some of the nicknames you may hear being thrown around within la familia.
Mija is a fusion of mi hija, “my daughter,” and mijo of mi hijo, “my son.” Older family members often use this endearing term when they are addressing younger ones, even if they are not actually their son or daughter. Mijito and mijita are common variations.
Literally “little bunny,” this pet name singles out the cuteness of small children. Similarly, any kind of fuzzy animal works as a nickname. For example, gatito/a (kitty) and cachorrito/a (puppy).
Some other sweet names include:
Mi príncipe/princesa – my prince/princess
Chiquito/a – little one
Chulo/a – cutie
Nene/a – “baby boy” or “baby girl” (In some families, the nickname nene or nena sticks to a person for their entire life when among family members.)
Mi ángel – my angel
Changuito/a – little monkey
Cachetes – cheeks
Gordito/a – chubby (although it sounds like an insult, between lovers, friends, or family gordito/a is a word of endearment)
Gusanito/a – little worm
Pollito/a – chick
Burbujita – bubble
Muñeca – doll
Mi tesoro – my treasure
Mi cielo – my sky/heaven
Jefe/jefa – Literally meaning “boss,” this nickname refers to the matriarch or patriarch of the family.
A Note on Diminutives
You know how “doggie” is a cute and affectionate way of saying “dog”? In Spanish, you can make the same change to practically any noun by adding -ito or -ita to the end.
These suffixes literally mean “small,” so casa means “house” while casita means “small house.” They can also imply familiarity and affection. An affectionate way to address your hermana (sister), for example, would be hermanita. You can also add the same suffixes to someone’s name – so Juana becomes Juanita. It’s cute, endearing, and to say it’s common is an understatement. Most Latin Americans will add these suffixes to just about any word.
- Tomamos un cafecito. (café = cafecito) – Let’s have a coffee.
- Dame un abracito (abrazo = abracito) – Give me a hug.
- Feliz cumpleaños. cariñito! (cariño = cariñito) – Happy birthday darling!
- Ven acá, hijita (hija = hijita) – Come here, my daughter.
- Mira como salta mi corazoncito. (corazón = corazoncito) – Look at how my little sweetheart jumps.
Spanish Terms of Endearment for Partners
If you have a Spanish-speaking romantic partner, you’ve probably heard some of these pet names. Couples use them everywhere throughout Latin America and Spain.
Mi amor – my love
Mi corazón – my heart/sweetheart (similar to “my love” in English)
Cariño/a – darling/sweetheart/honey
Querido/a – dear
Mi vida – my life. A nice expression for showing your loved one how much they mean.
Precioso/a – precious
Mi rey/reina – my king/queen
Mami/papi – mommy/daddy. These terms can refer to your parents, but more commonly refer to an attractive guy or girl in places like Colombia, Cuba, and other Caribbean countries. It’s important to note that these words are not common in Spain, Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. You may also hear the Spanish diminutives, mamita and papito.
Mi viejo/a – my old man/old lady. Just like in English, this is an endearing way to refer to your spouse in middle age and beyond.
Media naranja – soul mate/better half
Spanish Terms of Endearment for Friends
Nicknames for amigos tend to vary by country and region. Here are some common ones you might hear.
Chico/a – boy/girl. It’s similar to the playful way English speakers use “man/woman” when addressing a friend.
Primo/a – cousin. This nickname can also refer to a close friend.
Hermano/a – brother/sister. Pet name for a close male or female friend.
Cuñado/a – brother or sister-in-law. This also refers to a close friend.
Guapo/a – beautiful/handsome. When greeting friends, it’s common to flatter them by addressing them as guapo/a.
Paisa – compatriot
Compa/coma – Derived from the words compadre and comadre (godfather/godmother).
Cuate/a and Carnal/a – With no direct translation into English, these nicknames mean “buddy” or “pal.”
Tío/Tía – uncle/aunt. In Spain (not in Latin America), it’s extremely common to address your friends as “tío” or “tía.” It’s analogous to calling someone “dude” or “mate” in English.
Spanish Terms of Endearment in Action
Check out these example phrases to better understand how to use these Spanish terms of endearment in real life.
Cuando vas a visitarnos, mi jefa? – When will you visit us, my boss?
This is a question a son or daughter could ask their mother, affectionately referring to her as “the boss.”
Mi amor, ¿qué quieres hacer hoy? – My love, what do you want to do today?
This is something you could say to your partner on a free day when you have no plans.
Mi reina, ¿qué quieres tomar? – My queen, what do you want to drink?
A husband could just as easily say this to a wife as a waitress could to a patron.
Chula, ¿qué te doy? – Cutie, what do I give you?
Both a little girl and a grown woman could be the receivers of this phrase.
Mija, te quiero mucho. – Daughter, I love you very much.
Yo también te quiero, mamita. – I love you too, mommy.
¡Buen trabajo, nene! – Good job, baby boy!
Te amo, mi burbujita. – I love you, my little bubble.
¿Quieres café, mi vida? – Would you like coffee, my love?
Vamos a viajar, mi cielo. – We’re going to travel, my heaven.
Chao, Papi/Mami. – Bye, love.
Te presento a mi media naranja. – I’d like to introduce you to my better half.
¡Muy Bien, Amigos!
These expressions are just some of the many typical Spanish terms of endearment in use today. Do you know of any others that should be added to our list? Let me know in a comment!
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