Spanish Terms of Endearment: 20 Ways to Show Your Affection
The Spanish language is filled with love and charm, and there are many terms of endearment for you to learn.
While many of them are fun and easy to pick up, they can also get a little confusing at times.
Don’t worry about that, though! This article will give you 20 terms of endearment in Spanish to warm the hearts of your Spanish-speaking friends and lovers.
- Common Spanish Terms of Endearment
- 1. Mi alma — My soul
- 2. Bomboncita — Sweetie
- 3. Mi vida — My life
- 4. Mi corazón — My heart
- 5. Mijo/a — My son/daughter
- 6. Mi cielito — My little sky
- 7. Nene/a — Baby boy/girl
- 8. Chiquito/a — Little one
- 9. Reinita — Little queen
- 10. Corazoncito/a — Sweetheart
- 11. Papá/Mamá — Papa/Mama
- 12. Tío/a — Uncle/aunt
- 13. Viejo/a — Old man/woman
- 14. Gordo/a — Fatty
- 15. Flaco/a — Skinny
- 16. Loco/a — Crazy
- 17. Vato — Dude
- 18. Pobrecito/a — Poor little one
- 19. Chulo/a — Cool guy
- 20. Lindo/a — Cutie
- Using Spanish Diminutives for Nicknames
Common Spanish Terms of Endearment
Spanish culture is not afraid to show affection, and one of the best ways you can do that is through your words!
We have our own terms of affection in English: baby, sweetheart, dear, etc. so it only makes sense that Spanish would have some too.
Here are some of the most common ways you may hear someone express their adoration in Spanish.
1. Mi alma — My soul
This one means “my soul,” so you’d be right to assume that this isn’t used as lightly as the other nicknames that lovers may use. You’ll want to use this with a significant other who you’re very serious about.
Sí, quiero casarme con ella, es mi alma. (Yes, I want to marry her, she is my soul.)
2. Bomboncita — Sweetie
Bombon means “candy” and bomboncita means “little candy.”
In Spanish, the diminutive suffix -ito can be added to most regular nouns to express their small size and/or cuteness. Many words can thus be turned into cutesy nicknames just by adding this!
So, bomboncita is used similarly to “sweetie” and is most often used as a nickname for a girlfriend.
¿Puedes venir conmigo, bomboncita? (Can you come with me, sweetie?)
3. Mi vida — My life
Mi vida means “my life.” You might also hear vida mía, which means the same thing.
Mi vida, siempre estaré contigo. (My life, I will always be with you.)
4. Mi corazón — My heart
Mi corazón means “my heart,” and it’s a nice way to express your love but still be a bit casual. You can also use corazón on its own.
This one can be used between lovers, but you’ll probably hear it a lot when referring to children as well.
Ten cuidado, mi corazón. (Be careful, my heart.)
5. Mijo/a — My son/daughter
This word is short for mi hijo, which translates to “my son.” The feminine version is short for mi hija, which means “my daughter.” They can both be made diminutive, mijito and mijita, to make it even more charming.
This term of endearment is used by parents, extended family, friends and strangers alike.
While it may sound a little strange that a stranger could call a child their son or daughter, the community-centered culture found in Spanish-speaking areas makes this pretty normal.
Mijo, llévale esto a tu madre. (My son, take this to your mother.)
6. Mi cielito — My little sky
This poetic term of endearment means “my little sky” or “my little heaven,” and is often used with children but sometimes with lovers as well.
Note that this word does not change genders since el cielo (the sky) is always masculine.
Isabel es bonita, mi cielito. (Isabel is beautiful, my little heaven.)
7. Nene/a — Baby boy/girl
Nene translates to “baby boy,” and nena translates to “baby girl.” It can be used in a way similar to how “kiddo” is used in English.
Also, it can be used like “babe” or “baby” to refer to a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Tu nene va a ser fuerte. (Your baby boy is going to be strong.)
8. Chiquito/a — Little one
This word may sound strangely familiar… probably because Chiquita is one of the most popular brands of bananas in the United States!
Chiquita is used to call a girl “little one,” and chiquito is used for a boy.
Tienes mucho que aprender, chiquita. (You have a lot to learn, little one.)
9. Reinita — Little queen
Meaning “little queen,” this one is usually reserved for young girls. Princesa, which means “princess,” is equally common for little ladies.
Of course, some couples sometimes use these as well.
Mi reinita puede tener lo que quiera. (My little queen can have whatever she wants.)
10. Corazoncito/a — Sweetheart
“Sweetheart” is probably one of the most common terms of endearment for children in English, and corazoncito is the Spanish equivalent. And again, you can certainly use this one when talking to your significant other.
La llama su corazoncita. (He calls her his little heart.)
11. Papá/Mamá — Papa/Mama
Of course, you probably already know what these two words mean, but what’s interesting is how they’re used in many regions of Latin America.
Much like strangers might call a child mijo, it’s quite common to call someone who isn’t your father or mother papá or mamá.
Other variations on this include papi/mami, papito/mamita and papacito/mamacita.
Necesito tu ayuda papá. (I need your help papa.)
12. Tío/a — Uncle/aunt
Following the trend of using familial words with people unrelated by blood, these words are frequently used to refer to people who aren’t actually relatives by blood or marriage, especially in the Castilian Spanish of Spain.
This holds true for most familial words, including primo/a (cousin) and hermano/a (brother/sister).
All that matters is that the person you’re using it with is a close friend and within an appropriate age range for the word.
¡Mira a esa tía, está bailando tan loco! (Look at that auntie, she’s dancing so crazy!)
13. Viejo/a — Old man/woman
Meaning “old man” or “old woman,” this one may seem a little offensive, but you’ll notice with the next few terms that Spanish will use words that would be seen as offensive to English speakers as terms of endearment.
Spanish speakers often don’t take things too literally, so a seemingly crass word to us can more easily be accepted in a playful and lighthearted manner to them. That’s how viejo and vieja can be teasingly used as fun terms of endearment among friends.
Just be careful with who you say this one to… you can use it to refer to your parents when speaking with friends, but depending on the situation, it may not be so wise to say to your parent’s face.
Mi viejo dice que no puedo salir contigo esta noche. (My old man says I can’t go out with you tonight.)
14. Gordo/a — Fatty
Gordo is the word for “fat” in Spanish, so this one translates to something like “fatty.”
I know, you’re probably thinking about how dangerous it seems, but contrary to intuition, it’s actually used affectionately between friends and lovers in Spanish.
Gordito and gordita are also used, with the diminutive suffixes adding even more warmth.
Hola gordo, ¿quieres ir al cine después? (Hey fatty, want to go to the movies later?)
15. Flaco/a — Skinny
In English, it would seem a little awkward to refer to someone as “skinny,” but this is often done in Spanish.
You just need to remember to make it either masculine or feminine accordingly.
The suffix -ito can also be added to this term. However, because it ends in a -c and you need to maintain the hard K sound, it becomes either flaquito or flaquita with a q.
Quiero mucho a mi flaco. (I love my man so much.)
16. Loco/a — Crazy
Loco/a means “crazy,” and is usually used to playfully refer to someone in good humor—depending on the situation, of course!
Tranquilo, loco, ya voy. (Calm down crazy, I’m coming.)
17. Vato — Dude
If you’ve heard this one, I’m guessing you’ve visited Mexico before as it’s very common there and nearby countries.
It’s mainly used between male friends and can be compared to how “dude” is used in English.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a female counterpart for this word, and using vato to refer to a woman would probably get you some laughs or strange looks.
Vato, necesitamos ir a la playa mañana. (Dude, we need to go to the beach tomorrow.)
18. Pobrecito/a — Poor little one
Meaning “poor little one,” this is said lovingly to someone who has gained your sympathy.
It’s often used to refer to someone who’s sick, busy, tired or in various other negative states of being.
Perdió su billetera, pobrecito. (He lost his wallet, poor guy.)
19. Chulo/a — Cool guy
Meaning “cute,” “cool” or generally “nice,” this term is used with people of all ages—but only in Spain and certain parts of Latin America. In other parts of Latin America, this can sound old-fashioned or negative.
In the regions where it is used, chulo/a can be used to express interest in someone and when speaking casually with friends, children and others.
Quiere hablar con ese chulo. (She wants to talk to that cool guy.)
20. Lindo/a — Cutie
As an adjective, this word translates to “pretty,” “handsome,” “good” or “nice” etc. As a noun, it can mean words like “cutie,” “babe” etc. And as both an adjective and a noun, it’s not reserved only for women as it is in the English language!
This word can also be used in exclamation. “¡Qué lindo(a)!” is said to compliment anything and anyone, much like “How pretty!” is used in English.
Hola, lindo, ¿cómo dormiste? (Hey handsome, how did you sleep?)
Use these terms of endearment and your Spanish loved ones are sure to feel the love! If you want to learn more about the Spanish romance culture, try observing how natives use these terms for endearment.
If you’re not located in a Spanish-speaking country, you can also find virtual ways to learn Spanish language and culture. Using authentic content like romance movies or shows can help: look for these on places like Netflix, Amazon or your streaming service of choice.
You can also use a program like FluentU to search for terms of endearment in Spanish and see them used in different authentic videos. These videos are made by and for native speakers, and cover everything from music videos to commercials to inspiring talks.
Plus, all videos include interactive captions, so you can learn more about any word or add them to your vocab list for later review.
You can find FluentU on iOS and Android.
If you do have the opportunity to visit a Spanish-speaking country, there’s no better way to dive into the culture of romance than to experience it for yourself.
Using Spanish Diminutives for Nicknames
While all of these terms are a great start for expressing affection, you can create almost any nickname you like with Spanish diminutives.
As mentioned with bomboncita, you can add -ita or -ito to almost any noun to make it sound more cutesy. Using a diminutive gives something the feeling of being small or adorable, or just shows affection in general.
As with most things in Spanish, the ending you use is based on the noun’s gender. Use -ita with feminine nouns and -ito with masculine nouns.
Some examples include:
- Casita (little house)
- Perrito (little dog)
- Abuelita (little grandma)
- Bolsita (little bag)
After reading this post, you’ll have plenty of new ways to call your newfound love!
So get out there and start being affectionate!