170+ Spanish Nicknames for Friends, Family, Lovers and Strangers

We really do not realize how bizarre the nicknames we use every day are until we actually take a second to think about them.

Every language has them, and Spanish is one of the most entertaining of them all.

Here are over 170 Spanish nicknames that are cute, funny and even insulting to use with everyone in your circle of friends and loved ones.

Contents

Common Spanish Nicknames

Gordito / Gordita

Often used when placing an order at Taco Bell, this word, which translates to something along the lines of “little fatty” can sometimes be used as a non-offensive term of endearment between lovers.

Papá  

While this translates directly to “father” in English, it is often used when talking to non-related elders in select Spanish-speaking cultures.

Pollito  

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While it translates literally to “small chicken,” it can be used in a variety of ways between Spanish cultures. It is most along the lines of meaning cute, adorable or attractive.

It is also common to hear mis pollitos  (my chicks) used in many Latin American countries by some parents when referring to their children.

Ese

You’ve likely heard this one in shows, and it is mostly attributed to the Mexican culture. It means something like “homeboy.”

Vato

This is another term often heard in the Mexican culture. It is one of several words that may be used in place of “dude,” “man” or “guy.”

Cholo / Chola

This one varies depending on where it is used. It technically means someone who is a mestizo  (a person who is of both European and Native American ancestries), but colloquially, it is used to refer to a person who has a certain style that includes baggy pants, flannel shirts and a bandanna tied around their head.

Güey  

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Pronounced and commonly spelt like “wey,” güey is used most similarly to the way we say “dude,” except sometimes it can be used derogatorily to call someone silly or used as an exclamatory word.

Pachuco  

This name originated to call a Mexican with a flamboyant style and personality in the early 20th century, who looked and behaved similarly to what we would call mobsters or gangsters.

It may now be used to describe someone who has a similar style or for someone who behaves in a way that is considered socially inappropriate.

Primo / Prima

Primo/prima literally means “cousin”, but may be used to call someone who has maintained a close friendship.

Tío / Tía

Tío/tía translates directly to uncle/aunt in English but is commonly used in Spain to refer to another person. This could be someone you know, for example: “¿Qué pasa, tío?” (what’s up, man?) or it could also be used to refer to someone you don’t know, e.g.,: “Parece un tío amable” (he seems like a nice guy). 

Spanish Nicknames for Friends and Family

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Conejo means rabbit and conejito means little bunny. This can be used in a few ways, but one of the most sensible is for someone who is fast-paced.

Chiquito / Chiquita

Just like the popular banana brand, chiquita translates to “little girl.” Chiquito is the same, but for a small boy.

Nene / Nena

Nene (little boy) and nena (little girl) is used in Spanish to refer to young children. 

You might also hear it as a term of endearment between a couple, like “baby” or “babe” in English.

Jefe

This translates directly to “boss” in English but is often used more expansively in Spanish. In many countries in Latin America it is common to hear people say mis jefes (my bosses) when referring to their parents.

Chulo / Chula

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Meaning cutie, this one is used on children, adults, men and women equally. Something that is commonly said is “qué chula”  which means “how cute.”

Note that, as it often happens with words in Spanish, this word can have different meanings in different countries, so watch out if you are, for example, in Costa Rica, where chulo/chula is often used to refer to a person who takes advantage of others for their own benefit.

Güero / Güera

This one refers to a person who is very light-skinned or light-haired.

Spelling and pronunciation note: In Spanish, the two dots seen above the ü are called diéresis , “dieresis” in EnglishThey are seldom used in the language. In this case, they indicate that güero is pronounced like “wer-o.”

Hermano / Hermana

Hermano/hermana (brother/sister) are commonly used in Spanish to refer to a close friend. This is similar to how “bro” and “sis” are used in English.

Chismoso / Chismosa

This refers to someone one who likes to gossip.

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Viejo / Vieja

Used to say “old man/woman,” this one can be used jestingly or offensively depending on the context. It can also be used to refer to your parents—but whether or not it is offensive depends on the region, your tone of voice and how much of a sense of humor your parents have.

Tramposo / Tramposa

Someone with this nickname is cunning and manipulative, much like the English “trickster.”

Guapo / Guapa

Most commonly used to refer to someone handsome or attractive. It is a name that is often also used sarcastically to mean the opposite.

Lindo / Linda

It means pretty, but lindo/linda does not have the same embarrassing effect as “pretty boy” does in English.

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This one is used to refer to someone who is very studious as it translates to “little brain.”

Chico / Chica

This one means and is used in the same way as “boy” and “girl” in English. It is frequently and casually used. “Hola, chica. ¿Cómo estás?” (“Hey girl. How are you?”)

Spanish Nicknames for Lovers

Mi amor

Mi amor is one of the most common terms of endearment in Spanish. It means “my love” in English.

Mi alma

The Spanish are known for being romantic. A person may call their love interest mi alma, which means, “my soul.”

Papi chulo

Chances are you’ve heard this one before. While papi  is a derivative of papá this one is often used in *ahem* very different contexts. This one translates to something like a “macdaddy” in English.

Cariño

This one is used quite frequently and is most similar to how we say “dear” or “darling” in English.

Hermosa

This simply means “beautiful,” but it can be used as a name of sorts. Other words that mean basically the same thing are bonita  and bella .

Mi amado / Mi amada

Derived from the verb amar  (to love), amado  means “loved” in English.

To call someone mi amado/mi amada is much like calling them “my beloved.” 

Príncipe / Princesa

These mean “prince” and “princess.”

Mi cielito  

Means “my little sky” or “my heaven.” Mi sol  which means “my sun” may be used in a similar manner.

Mi vida  

Spanish speakers really know how to make their lovers feel special. Mi vida means “my life.”

Sorry if these are making you feel lonely. Here is a fun fact: The word for “loneliness” in Spanish is soledad  and is actually a common woman’s name in some Spanish-speaking countries.

Tesoro

As well as vida and cielito , another term of endearment that you may hear in Spanish is tesoro, which literally translates to “treasure” in English.

Mi tesoro (my treasure) is often used in the same context as “my darling” or “honey” in English.

Mi rey / Mi reina

Mi rey means “my king” and mi reina means “my queen.”

Media naranja

Media naranja translates directly into English as “half an orange,” but is used as a term of endearment in Spanish to mean “soulmate” or “other half.” 

Mi sirenita

This cute one means “my little mermaid.”

In English, it seems like it would be impossible to not relate this to the Disney movie and sound at least a little awkward to call a lover this, but in Spanish it can be used romantically.

Cute Spanish Nicknames for Girls

Do you need a perfect nickname for a special girl in your life? You can use these!

Cool Spanish Nicknames for Guys

As for the cool guy friend, try these nicknames on for size.

Funny Spanish Nicknames

Many of the nicknames given to people are silly or just meant to poke fun at certain aspects of their personality or physique.

Most of the time, these are meant in jest and aren’t meant to upset anyone. For instance, my mother-in-law is alternatively referred to by the family as either “Maruja la Bruja” (Maria the Witch) and “Flaca” (Skinny). These nicknames are used more often than her real name!

  • Cabezón (Big head) —  Used for someone with a large head or stubborn personality.
  • Flaco (Skinny) —  Used for someone who’s thin or lean.
  • Gordo (Fat) — Used for someone who is overweight or has a round body shape.
  • Pelón (Bald) — Used for someone who is bald or has very short hair.
  • Orejón (Big ears) — Used for someone with large or prominent ears.
  • Narizón (Big nose) — Used for someone with a large or prominent nose.
  • Cachetón (Chubby cheeks) — Used for someone with round or plump cheeks.
  • Dormilón (Sleepy) — Used for someone who is frequently tired or loves to sleep.
  • Tragoncito (Little glutton) — Used for someone who loves to eat or overindulges in food.
  • Llorón (Crybaby) — Used for someone who cries easily or is sensitive.
  • Chistoso (Funny) — Used for someone with a good sense of humor or who likes to make others laugh.
  • Chiflado (Crazy) — Used for someone who is eccentric or has unusual behaviors.
  • Payaso (Clown) — Used for someone who likes to act silly or entertain others.
  • Vago (Lazy) — Used for someone who lacks motivation or avoids work.

Spanish Nicknames for Coworkers

In a professional setting, you might want to refrain from the more potentially insulting or silly nicknames. However, there are still names you can use for the people you work with that won’t offend or upset. Check them out below.

  • Jefe (Boss) — You may remember this nickname from an earlier section, but you can also literally use the word as a nickname for a coworker in a leadership position.
  • Compa — Short for “compañero” or “compañera,” which means “companion” or “colleague.”
  • Mono / Mona (Monkey) — Used for someone with a playful or mischievous personality.
  • Fiera (Beast) — Used for a someone who’s competitive or fierce in their work.
  • Maestro (Teacher) — Used for someone who’s knowledgeable or experienced in their field.
  • Crack — A colloquial term that means “ace” or “top-notch,” used for a coworker who is highly skilled or talented in their work.
  • Máquina (Machine) — Used for someone highly efficient and productive in their work.

Spanish Nicknames for Children

Kids naturally invite cute nicknaming, and there are some adorable terms of endearment used for children in the Spanish language.

Spanish Nicknames for Pets

Does anyone actually call their pet by their real name? My own rabbit is firmly convinced that his name is “Bunny” at this point. What cute name can you call your pet in Spanish? Read on and pick your favorite!

Region-specific Nicknames

There are some nicknames that you’re more likely to hear in one particular region. The lists below highlight some of the most common nicknames from different Spanish-speaking areas of the world.

Mexican Nicknames

  • Pancho  (Short for Francisco) — Used for someone friendly and outgoing.
  • Chava   (Short for Salvador or Salvadorita) — Used for someone cheerful and optimistic.
  • Chapo (Shorty) — Used for someone who’s short in stature. It gained widespread notoriety as the nickname of the infamous drug lord, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
  • Cuate (Buddy or Pal) — Used as a term of endearment for a close friend. It originated in Mexico and is commonly used in Mexican Spanish.

Puerto Rican Nicknames

  • Jibaro — Refers to someone from the rural countryside of Puerto Rico, often associated with a particular style of music, dance and dress. The term has its roots in the indigenous Taino people of Puerto Rico and is still commonly used today.
  • Boricua — Refers to someone from Puerto Rico and is often used as a term of pride or affection for the island and its culture. The term has its roots in the indigenous Taino people of Puerto Rico and is still commonly used today.
  • Papi / Mami (Daddy/Mommy) — These nicknames mean “daddy” or “mommy” in Spanish and are often used as terms of endearment for a close friend or romantic partner. They are also commonly used in Puerto Rican Spanish.

Nicknames from Other Spanish-speaking Countries

  • Che — Used in Argentina as a term of familiarity or endearment. It gained widespread popularity through the famous Argentine revolutionary, Ernesto “Che” Guevara.
  • Chino / Chinita — Used in various Spanish-speaking countries including Peru, Colombia and Spain. They refer to someone with Asian features and are often used as terms of endearment.
  • Tico / Tica — Used in Costa Rica and refer to someone from that country.
  • Chapín / Chapina — Used in Guatemala and refer to someone from that country.
  • Guacho — Used in Chile and refer to someone who’s single or unmarried.
  • Paisa —Used in Colombia and refers to someone from the Paisa region, which encompasses several departments in the central Andean region of the country.
  • Chamo — Used in Venezuela and refer to someone who’s young or youthful among friends and family members.
  • Chivato — Used in Cuba and refer to someone who’s a snitch or tattletale. They are often used in a negative sense to describe someone who is untrustworthy.

Nicknames for Common Names

Much like Alexander will become Alex in English, some names get shortened nicknames in Spanish. Here are some of the most common name-based nicknames.

  • Pepe — Short for José.
  • Juanito — Short for Juan.
  • Paco — Short for Francisco.
  • Toño — Short for Antonio.
  • Lolo — Short for Carlos.
  • Tito — Short for names ending in -to, such as Alberto or Benito.
  • Rafa — Short for Rafael.
  • Mari — Short for María.
  • Chema — Short for José María.
  • Kiko — Short for Francisco.
  • Pili — Short for Pilar.
  • Conchi — Short for Concepción.
  • Javi — Short for Javier.
  • Isa — Short for Isabel or Isabella.
  • Nando — Short for Fernando or Hernando.
  • Pato — Short for Patricio or Patricia, and meaning “duck.”

How to Learn More Spanish Nicknames

The words above are used in authentic speech—that means many are considered “slang” or “colloquialisms” and you will not find them in textbooks.

That is why I recommend using authentic resources to learn these nicknames—and pick up more! Here are some resources to get you started:

 

There you have it. Now you are all set to charm, compliment and insult those around you in Spanish.

¡Buena suerte, amigos! (Good luck, my friends!)

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