35 German Terms of Endearment

There’s a certain stereotype about the German language; namely, that it’s harsh.

The language of commands. Of exacting precision. Of philosophy.

But could German be a language of love?

Read on to find out.


1. Schatz  — Jewel/Gem/Treasure

Schatz is the most common German term of endearment, according to surveys. Couples all over the country call each other this pet name or one of its many cute forms, such as Schätzchen  (little treasure) or Schatzi  (see #17).

It’s also very common to use with children. Go to any playground in Berlin and you’ll hear the word Schatz flying around from moms and dads.

2. Maus  — Mouse

Believe it or not, you can use this term of endearment for your significant other, although it’s also quite common for use with small children. If you’re using it with a child, however, you might want to transform it into the diminutive form, Mäuschen or Mausi  (both mean “little mouse”).

This name is more popular for women, and it ranks in the top five of popular German terms of endearment.

3. Hase  — Bunny

Rumor has it that this one’s more commonly used for woman than for men, so tread carefully if you’re using it with a boyfriend or husband. Like Maus (mouse), Hase can be made cuter with diminutives, such as Häschen or Hasi .

4. Bärchen  — Little bear

Anyone! Boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, child—although it’s most commonly used by and for men and women in same-sex relationships. Just stay away from using the non-diminutive form of bear ( Bär ), since bears don’t fit into the cute cuddly paradigm of other German terms of endearment.

This is a popular one—like Maus, it ranks in the top five.

5. Liebling  — Darling/Favorite

Like “darling,” you can use this one for anyone, although it lacks the creative flair of German’s animal nicknames. It doesn’t crack the top five in popularity, but you’ll find it in the top ten.

6. Engel  — Angel

Engel is more popularly used to nickname women than men, although it’s also popular for men in same-sex relationships. You can also use the diminutive form here too: Engelchen.

7. Schnucki — Sweetie-pie

You can use Schnucki for whoever you want. It ranks in the top ten of common terms of endearment as well, and sounds just as cloying as it does in English! 

8. Kuschelbär — Cuddly bear

More so reserved for men with a penchant for a snuggle, it also reveals a very useful verb for amorous rendezvous— kuscheln  means to cuddle.

9. Süße / Süßer — Sweetie

Süße lands in the top ten, so it’s a fairly popular name in Germany, suitable for just about anyone. Remember that because Süße comes from the adjective süß , even as a noun it requires different endings based on the person it’s describing (a man would be a Süßer, a woman would be Süße).

10. Zaubermaus  — Magic mouse

I suppose Mickey was already taken. But if that special someone, or even a beloved pet, has got you spellbound, it’s quite apt to name them after their amorous, mousy style of witchcraft. 

11. Schnecke — Snail

Although when translated into English this term might sound significantly less romantic, Schnecke (snail) can be used to say “cutie” in German.

12. Baby — Baby

Likely due to the proliferation of English language pop-music, “Baby” has made its way into German to refer to a romantic partner. Although because of its prolific use in saccharine ballads, it can come across as a bit cheesy.

13. Mausebär — Mouse bear

As seen in #2 and #10, Maus  (mouse) is a fairly common term of endearment in German.

Here the word Maus appears again with the addition of Bär (bear). This German term of endearment is used to address a partner in a romantic relationship or by parents to their children.

14. Spatzi  — Little sparrow

The term Spatzi means “little sparrow” and is used to refer to someone you feel love for in a similar way to “sweetheart” in English.

15. Kätzchen  — Kitten

As well as Spatzi (sparrow) or Schnecke (snail), you might hear someone use the word Kätzchen (kitten) to address their loved one.

You may hear this particular term of endearment used both in romantic relationships to address women and also by parents to address their young daughters.

16. Hübscher / Hübsche — Cutie

If your loved one, or even just your crush, is looking adorable, this compliment and term of endearment rolled into one might well get you in their good books.
This is another example of an adjectival noun, coming from the adjective hübsch  (cute). So make sure to use the right ending based on who you are referring to: a man would be Hübscher, a woman would be Hübsche).

17. Schatzi — Honey (lit. Little treasure)

Schatzi is one of the many variations of the term Schatz (#1).

Like the term of endearment “honey” in English, you can use Schatzi, if the standard-issue Schatz is not syrupy sweet enough for you. 

18. Prinz  / Prinzessin  — Prince/Princess

These terms of endearment are not as common as others in this list, but you may hear someone use them to address their boyfriend or girlfriend. You may also hear these terms used by parents to their children.

19. Sonnenschein  — Sunshine

If someone makes you happy and makes your day just that bit better by talking to them or seeing them, you might opt to call them Sonnenschein.

Another common term of endearment that is used in a similar way to Sonnenschein is Sonnenstrahl  meaning “ray of sunshine.”

20. Meine Sonne  — My sun

Like the term of endearment listed above, Meine Sonne is also used in a very similar context to highlight the importance of that person to you. However, it’s worth noting that the possessive pronoun Meine shows a slightly closer relationship.

21. Sternschnuppe — Meteor

As well as describing someone as “sunshine,” you may also hear the term of endearment Sternschnuppe (meteor). You might think of this special someone as falling into your life, as the bright, beautiful, celestial being they are. 

22. Blume  — Flower

This term of endearment is used in a similar way to the British English terms of endearment “flower” and “petal.”

Blume highlights a person’s beauty or kindness and is mostly used to describe a woman or a young girl.

23. Herzblatt — Sweetheart

Instead of calling someone “sweetheart,” in German you can call someone Herzblatt which translates as “heart leaf.”

24. Herzchen  — Little heart/Darling

When translated directly to English, Herzchen means “little heart” and is used to say “darling.” 

25. Herzensbrecher  — Heartbreaker

Calling someone a “heartbreaker” doesn’t have the best connotations and is often used negatively, however, this term can be used in a comical and light-hearted way between friends.

For example, if your friend receives a lot of attention but rejects this interest, you might call them a Herzensbrecher, in jest. 

26. Lieblingschatz — Favorite treasure

If you are looking for something more special than Schatz or Schatzi, you could call your loved one Lieblingschatz (favorite treasure).

27. Schnuckiputzi  — Sweetie pie

If the previous term of endearment wasn’t sweet enough for you, you could try using Schnuckiputzi!

This term of endearment is not only used by couples when talking to each other but is also commonly used by parents, family members and close family friends when referring to children.

28. Hasenkind — Bunny child/Little bunny

Hasenkind is made up of the words Hase  (Bunny) and Kind (child) and translates literally to “bunny child.” You might hear parents calling their young children this, or one particularly dewy-eyed romantic partner to another. 

29. Kleiner Schatz — Little treasure

As seen in #1, Schatz  is the most common term of endearment in German.

Kleiner Schatz (little treasure) is another variation of this popular term, just placing the adjective for small klein in front, and is used to address children.

30. Meine bessere Hälfte — My better half

Meine bessere Hälfte is in the same vein as the English “my other half”, used between romantic partners. 

As it describes one person being integral or connected to the other, it’s certainly a more involved term than the others on this list. You’d expect to see long-term or married couples using this one. 

31. Lieblingsmensch  — Favorite person

Describing someone as your favorite person shows the love and affection you have for them—there is no one quite like them!

This term can be used by anyone to refer to their favorite person, from close friends and couples to family members.

32. Die Liebe meines Lebens — The love of my life

Like its equivalent in English, this term of endearment shows the love you hold for the person you are addressing. 

Wondering what that added is for on the end of Leben? Check out our article on the German genitive case. 

33. Mein Ein und Alles — My one and everything

Mein Ein und Alles is another term of endearment used to express love, admiration and care. You might hear couples use this term, or even a person talking about their family or group of friends.

34. Seelenverwandter / Seelenverwandte  — Soulmate

Seelenverwandter or Seelenverwandte is most commonly your partner, although it isn’t uncommon to hear this term also used by people to describe a very close friend. 

This is another one of those pesky adjectives that’s been turned into a noun, so make sure to use the correct adjective ending! In the nominative case, you’ll just need to remember Seelenverwandter for men and Seelenverwandte for women. 

35. Augenstern  — Apple of my eye (lit. Star of the eye)

Instead of referring to someone as the “apple of your eye,” in German you describe them as your Augenstern, which literally means the “star of the eye.”

Key Things to Know About German Terms of Endearment

1. Many of them are derived from animal names.

In English, we say “sweetie,” “honey,” “babe” or, maybe, if we’re elderly grandmas, “pumpkin.” German terms of endearment, however, stem largely from the animal world. If you’ve ever wanted to call your girlfriend “little bear” or “magic mouse,” you’ll find these words in the list above!

2. Many of them are suitable for children or significant others.

Some of German’s pet names are interchangeable for children or partners. Others are better suited to one or the other. Make sure to pay attention to the difference, so you don’t embarrass yourself by calling your new German boyfriend by the same pet name his mother used for him when he was five.

3. When it comes to “I love you” in German, there are a few crucial differences in the way you say it.

In English, you either tell someone you like them or you love them. In German, there’s a step between like and love. Ich hab dich lieb (I love you) is a less intense version of Ich liebe dich  (I love you). Make sure you’re saying what you mean—you don’t want to scare off your new suitor!

4. They’re all about diminutive forms.

Diminutive forms in German are basically the cute version of a word; as you can imagine, many terms of endearment rely on the diminutive forms of ordinary German words.

You form the diminutive by adding -chen or -lein to the end of a word. So, for example, Bär (bear) becomes Bärchen  (little, cute bear). You can also make a German word cute by adding -i to the end. For example, Maus (mouse) would become Mausi . Remember that diminutive nouns are always neutral, so they take the das  pronoun.

One way to get past the confusion is to learn how native Germans use these words. The FluentU program might help because you can see how Germans use affectionate terms in context.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Clearly, despite German’s reputation as a harsh and brutal language, there’s no shortage of ways to show your affection for your children, your husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or even close friend.

English’s “sweetie,” “honey” and “darling” really don’t come close to a language where you can describe your partner or new romantic interest as a pearl or a bee—or really, as anything you want (some German couples even call their loved ones less-than-flattering nicknames like Schlumpf  or “smurf.”)

So what are you waiting for?

Practice and memorize these 35 terms of endearment, study up on your romantic German phrases and learn a romantic song in German.

You’ll be wooing your new Freund  (boyfriend) or Freundin  (girlfriend) in no time at all.

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

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