Spanish-speakers are often very loving and affectionate people and so it comes as no surprise that their endearing qualities are manifested in their language use. Depending on the country you visit, there may be terms of endearment that are specific to that region, however these are some the most universal Spanish pet names.
Spanish Endearments for Romantic Relationships
If you have a Spanish-speaking boyfriend or girlfriend, chances are you have probably heard some of these pet names. Now you can impress your significant other by giving them their own personal nickname of your choice!
Cultural Note: Almost all of these terms are also commonly used when addressing small children.
Endearments for Family & Children
Families are very tight-knit in Spanish-speaking countries and therefore, it is no surprise that there are an array of terms of endearment used between family members. Next time you are at a large family gathering, try to listen and see if you hear any of these nicknames being thrown around.
A fusion word of mi hija, "my daughter" and mi hijo, "my son," this endearing term is often used by older family members who are addressing younger ones.
Meaning "little bunny," this pet-name and any other animal that is shorten to its diminutive form with -ito or -ita is commonly used with small children.
Translating to "prince" and "princess," these pet-names are also used with young children.
- chiquito/a → little one
A diminutive of the word chico meaning "small," this pet-name is used to talk to small children and babies.
This name mean "little boy" or "little girl" and is used with children. However, sometimes this nickname sticks and people are called nene or nena their entire lives when among family members.
- mami /papi
The direct translation into English would be "mommy" and "daddy" however these nicknames are not just reserved for young children when referring to their parents. People way into adulthood will continue to call their parents mami and papi.
Literally meaning "boss," this nickname is used to refer to the matriarch or patriarch of the family, such as a mother, father, grandmother or grandfather.
- mi viejo/a
Meaning "old man" or "old lady" this is an endearing way to refer to your spouse in middle age.
Nicknames for close friends are probably the most regional and thus vary considerably from country to country, but here are some common ones you might hear.
Meaning "boys" and "girls" it's used similarly in the way that English speakers use "hey guys/gals" when addressing a group of friends.
Literally translating to "cousin," this nickname is commonly used to refer to a very close male or female friend.
Similar to primo/a, hermano/a directly translates to "brother" or "sister" and is also commonly used to refer to a very close male or female friend.
Following in the footsteps of hermano/a, cuñado/a directly translates to "brother or sister-in-law." This is also commonly used to refer to a very close male or female friend.
When greeting close friends, it's common to flatter them by addressing them as guapo/a meaning "beautiful" or "handsome"
Derived from the word paisano meaning "compatriot" or "from the same country," paisa is used to refer to both a male or female friend.
Derived from the words compadre and comadre, meaning "god-father/mother," these nicknames figuratively translate to "buddy" and have their respective male and female forms.
With no direct translation into English, these nicknames mean "buddy" or "pal" with their respective male and female forms.
Much like cuate/a, carnal/a does not have a direct translation into English. These nicknames also mean "buddy" or "pal" and have their respective male and female forms.
Now that you are familiar with a variety of pet names and endearments in Spanish, try out a few with your friends and loved ones.