Your new bae is French and you want to find the perfect French term of endearment for them? Pick from this list of pet names you can call the men, women and children you love.
From the cute and quirky to the romantic and even risqué, some French terms of endearment convert perfectly to English, such as mon ange which means “my angel”. Others, however popular, don’t translate so well at all, like mon chou which literally means “my cabbage” (swoon!).
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Top 10: Most popular French terms of endearment
Here are the classic and common terms of endearment you hear people use in France. You can say these terms of French endearment to either men (M), women (F) or children (and, why not, even cats and goldfish), and in general most of these have the same general meaning as saying sweetie or honey.
- Mon amour: my love
- Mon chou: My cabbage, but chou can also be short for a French cream puff called chou chantilly or chou à la crème.
- Chouchou: Derived from chou
- Mon ange: My angel
- Mon bébé: My baby
- Doudou: What kids call their favorite toy or blankie
- Mon coeur: My heart
- Mon trésor: My treasure
- Ma chérie (F), mon chéri (M): My darling
- Ma puce: My flea
More cute French words of endearment for honey, sweetheart and darling
Many French terms of endearment sound strange – sometimes even like insults – to English speakers, and apparently were born on a farm.
No matter what the literal translation, the following terms of endearment generally have the same or similar meaning to calling someone sweetie pie, pooky face, honey bunny, cheeky poo… you get the drift. Most can be used for men (M), women (F), or children.
These start with mon (M) or ma (F), depending on the noun’s gender:
- Mon biquet (M), ma biquette (F): My goat
- Ma caille (F): My quail
- Mon chaton (M): my kitten
- Mon canard (M): My duck
- Ma crevette (F): My shrimp, often used for people of small stature
- Mon lapin (M): My rabbit
- Mon poussin (M): My baby chicken
- Ma cocotte (F): Childish word for chicken
- Mon poulet (M), ma poule (F): My chicken
- Ma biche (F): My doe, as in doe a dear
- Ma choupinette (F): Derived from chou and choupine, which means cute
- Mon loulou (M), ma louloute (F): No translation
- Ma bichette (F): Derived from doe
- Mon bébé d’amour: My baby love
- Mamour: My love; contraction of mon or ma with amour
- Ma poupée (F): My little doll
- Ma princesse (F): My princess
- Poupette (F): Derived from poupée, my dolly
- Ma belle (F): My pretty, like the Beatles song Michelle, ma belle
- Ma pépette (F): My money
Less common French pet names
All these French terms of endearment can also be used as nicknames or to refer to the people you love:
- Mon beau (M): My handsome
- Mon nounours: My teddy bear
- Ma Douce (F): My sweet
- Mon lutin (M): My elf
- Mon petit monstre: My little monster
- Ma fée (F): My fairy
- Mon p’tit bout: literally, “my little bit”. Especially used for small children.
- Mon bijou: My jewel
- Ma mie (F): The soft white part of bread. Very old fashioned.
- Mon étoile: My star
- L’amour de ma vie: Love of my life
- Mon bonheur: My happiness
For lovers only: intimate French terms of endearment
- Mon amoureux (M), mon amoureuse (F): My lover; some people will say this to children, as it does not necessarily mean someone you bed, but it’s honestly a little creepy.
- Mon homme (M): My man
- Ma nana (F): my girlfriend, informal
- Ma nénette (F): same as above, but a little more outdated
- Mon mec (M): my boyfriend
- Mon jules (M): as above, but a bit outdated
- Ma meuf (F): Used to be ghetto but is now used quite widely
- Ma moitié: My half, similar to my better half
- Mon fiancé (M), ma fiancée (F): does not necessarily mean you are engaged
Strange or risqué French phrases
The French often like to tease those they love, so it’s no surprise that you’ll run into many pet names that would horrify anybody else.
We saved the best (or worst, depending on how you look at them) French terms of endearments for last – these can be used for friends as well as for the object of your affection:
- Ma truffe: My truffle – but “truffe” can also be a dog’s nose, so who knows which one they mean!
- Ma crotte: Literally means my turd, which is what many women ache to be called by their boyfriend, clearly.
- Mon gros (M), ma grosse (F): My fat one – don’t be offended, it’s generally a common term of endearment in French
- Ma quéquette: A cringeworthy word for penis.
- Ma chatte (F): Be careful: this means pussy cat and it also has the same double meaning in English.
- Mon minou: My kitty – this is especially used by older generations as the term has grown sexual undertones (minou = pussycat)
- Ma couille: Literally means my testicle, but you can use it to refer to your friends.