French is a language that, no matter who it's spoken by, makes the listener swoon, and there are many beautiful terms of endearment in French that we all somehow know. It is, thought by many, to be the ultimate romantic of the "romance languages". Furthermore what makes French a truly beautiful language to behold is when it's used for romantic or endearing purposes, which is why we created a comprehensive list of the best terms of endearment in French!
In the western world, we don't realize exactly how much of our language comes from French - but, it's extensive. Often, these are words that bring the mind the softness and elegance that we Westerners envision of France - sometimes not. From the etiquette we use ( a word deriving from the list of rules visitors had to abide by in the court of King Louis XIV) to creating a dossier (a stack of papers often with a label on the back, coming from the French dos, which means “back”) or visiting the dentist (from the French word literally meaning "toother"), French is simply everywhere in English.
So much so, in fact, that we've borrowed from the French many of their famous terms of endearment. Why? Because French is endearing, and it's frankly one of the most beautiful spoken languages on the planet.
Whether you're traveling to France or just want to say the right thing to someone beloved, these are some of the most prevalent French terms of endearment.
Asticot: While it means something disgusting (maggot), it's really more of a colloquialism you might call a close friend. One of those terms that's more about how you say something, and not exactly what you say.
Beauté: A nice way to show your love to your beautiful girlfriend.
Belle gueule: Gueule means mouth, and "belle" is the feminine form of beautiful. So, if you want to tell someone they have a pretty mouth (but really... don't), I guess this is the term to use.
BG: It stands for ‘beau gosse,” with beau being the male form of "beautiful", and gosse essentially meaning "guy". Pretty self-explanatory from there!
Bibi d’amour: A sweet nickname for someone you love.
Bibiche: same as Bichette, even if it sounds a bit old school.
Bibou: One of those terms of endearment without a real meaning but it just sounds so sweet that everyone uses it.
Bichette: It means Female deer, but it is often used as an affectionate name for one’s girlfriend.
Bijou: My jewel. Use this nickname for a precious guy.
Biquette: It means female goat, but it is commonly used as a term of endearment for a lady.
Bogosse: For a young, good-looking man. It basically means the same as BG, just actually spoken instead of initialized.
Boss: Means the same in French as in English, and most other languages that have a modicum of hip dialect. If someone is good at something, call them this - or another colloquialism between you and a friend.
Boubou: No real meaning, just one of those cool-sounding nicknames you can call your boyfriend.
Cacahuète: It means peanut. Did we mention the French like to call people by the name of cute animals? Also add "small foods" to that list.
Calinours: For a boyfriend as adorable as a teddy bear.
Chamallow: It means marshmallow, so, um... see what I told you?
Champion: It means the same as in English (because it's actually a French word we stole), and it's also the most French way of telling someone they're good at something.
Chaton: For your adorable kitten.
Chatounette: It means Kitty; also, a cute French nickname for lovers.
Chef: Our English word "chef" actually is the French word for "chief". So, you see the connection here. Chef (French) = Chief (English). (Which is why sous chef literally means "under chief", because they're the secondary chef in charge of assisting the head chef).
Choupette: Basically a made-up word that means anything sweet you can imagine - sweetie, honey pie, etc...
Choupinette: Most things in French that end in -ette relate to something that's small and adorable. Self explanatory.
Choupinou: Similar to Choupinette, but for a guy.
Chouquette: It's a rare -ette nickname that is normally used for a man. A Chouquette is a sweet pastry sprinkled with sugar and filled with a type of custard. Normally it's combined with chocolate as either a dip or additional topping.
Coco: You'll also notice that just short, nice sounding syllables are often used as terms of endearment. Essentially, it's baby-talk.
Cousin: Use with care, as this formerly referred to an informant among drug dealers. Now it's used much more colloquially. I wouldn't use it unless you're talking about your actual cousin.
Crazy Chérie: It means crazy love, and is great for a whimsical and free-thinking loved one.
Darling: Same as English.
Doudou: Essentially a made up word that means "sweetie".
Foufou: Some of these terms simply sound like baby-talk, don't they? That may, in fact, be the point.
Frangin: Colloqualism meaning friend or brother.
Frangine: Basically means a close, female friend.
Frappadingue: The person that will do anything on a dare? That's the frappadingue among your group - the crazy one.
Frérot: Frere means brother, so it's basically like saying "brother".
Gavroche: From the 1862 novel, Les Misérables by Victor Hugo, this is in reference to the trouble-maker and instigator, Gavroche. Can be an endearment, but can also be used pretty literally about someone of whom you aren't very fond.
Gus: It's basically like saying "guy" in English.
Kiki: Sounds similar to a fruit, doesn't it? Can be used for either men or women.
Lapinette: For an lady who is as adorable as a rabbit, as the French word for rabbit is lapin.
Lapinou: -ou often means "small" as a colloquialism, so it's basically like saying "small rabbit". Another animal name!
Loleuse: A good pet name for a cheerful friend.
Lolotte: For someone who is independent and spontaneous.
Lutin des prairies: A lutin is a type of goblin. Not the most endearing of ideas, but it's actually interesting in its own way.
Ma belle: One of the more common and beautiful meanings - my beautiful.
Ma Biche: ‘Ma Biche’ can be roughly translated to mean “honey,” “baby,” “darling.”’
Ma Caille: It means "my quail", but you'll come to learn that most animal references (the cute ones at least), are all interchangeable.
Ma chance: It means "my luck", and is a sweet way of telling someone that you're lucky to have them.
Ma chérie: For the love of your life.
Ma chouette: “Chouette” means owl, a bird. But “Ma Chouette” is an affectionate term used for a nice person.
Ma cocotte: Cocotte means Hen; it is commonly used as a nickname for women of easy virtues.
Ma crevette: A funny French nickname for a tiny girl. It means – shrimp.
Ma dulcinée: It means sweetheart.
Ma fée: It means Fairy; a great name for a magical girl, or someone with a bit of whimsy.
Ma Juliette: As in Romeo & Juliette. It's a little strange, since they both committed suicide in the play, eh?
Ma lionne: It means Lioness; an awesome French nickname for a wild, free-spirited girlfriend.
Ma mignonnette: If your girlfriend is adorable and small, call her this nickname.
Ma muse: "My muse" - to the one who inspires you to do great things.
Ma nymphe: For a special woman that could be likened to a nymph-like Goddess.
Ma p’tite parfaite: It means "my little perfect"... cute, eh?
Ma pépite: It's a type of gold piece, and is meant for the lady you're lucky to have.
Ma petite grenouille: It means little frog; it is used as a romantic nickname for girlfriends.
Ma petite sirène: It means "my little mermaid". This pre-dates the movie, so feel free to use it!
Ma poule: It's a slang that's suppose to mean "sweetheart", but with a little research you can find it actually refers to a prostitute in French slang. I wouldn't use it.
Ma princesse: "My Princess". Self-explanatory.
Ma promise: The promised one is the girl you hope to marry someday.
Ma puce: “My dear” in a much less formal way.
Ma rose: Literally means "my rose".
Ma schtroumpfette: Apparently the French love cartoons - this one means "smurfette", from The Smurfs.
Ma tendre: Means "my tender". Awww... adorable, isn't it?
Ma tigresse: It means Tigress; a cute French nickname for an energetic girl.
Ma tourterelle: "Turtledove" - pretty cute, if you ask us 🙂
Ma Valentine: This could, in no way, be more self-explanatory 🙂
Ma violette: My "violet", but more in reference to the color than the flower.
M'amour: Very simple - "my love".
Mon amour: It means the same as what is above, except this is grammatically incorrect. In fact, several of these are. Any noun beginning with a vowel sound should shorten the possessive before it. In other words, "mon amour" becomes "m'amour" and is pronounced as one word.
Mon ange: Sweet, and a little corny. It means "my angel".
Mon Apollon: "My Apollo". This one is pretty old school.
Mon artiste: It means "my artist" - a little too erudite for a casual nickname, if you ask me.
Mon bébé: "My baby".
Mon beau étalon: "Handsome/beautiful stallion". Definitely for men, only.
Mon canari des îles: It means "my island duck". Sounds like something that would work in Titanic.
Mon chéri: A colloquial that basically means "my dear".
Mon chou: You might read elsewhere that this means something different, but it means "cabbage". Yes, even bland vegetables can be a compliment!
Mon cœur au chocolat: "My chocolate heart". Sometimes you can go a little overboard on trying to be romantic...
Mon enclume: I kind of like this one. Enclume means "anvil", so it's basically like calling someone your "rock".
Mon frère: It means “my brother" - use as you would in English.
Mon gazou: In Arabic language, Gazou means "boy" and should be used for someone who is sweet and charming – Use gazelle as a female equivalent.
Mon grand: It's like saying "my big". My best friend actually calls me the "big guy", so this is the one he would probably use in French. ( Tito!)
Mon gros: It means a lot of things, mostly not good. Don't ever call a woman this, because it's calling her "your fat", but a lot of guys find the term endearing.
Mon héros: If your guy is your hero.
Mon homme: Literally means "my man", and normally denotes a strength and respect.
Mon petit canard: It means "little duck" - and the obsession with animals and food wins again!
Mon petit caramel: "My little caramel". Did we mention a lot of these have to do with food?
Mon petit cœur: "My little heart".
Mon pote: Pote means the same as "mate" in British English. Normally a term between gentlemen who are very good friends. "My mate...."
Mon poto: It means "my dude" or "my buddy", per a popular song written in French.
Mon poussin: For your "cute chicken"... make sure to double-check the pronunciation, as it sounds like at least 3 other words you probably shouldn't say!
Mon preux chevalier: Say this if he's your "valiant knight".
Mon prince: Add royal names to the things to call your special person - this one means exactly what it looks like. "My prince".
Mon roi: Means literally "my King" in French.
Mon souriceau: It means “my mouse", which is just adorable.
Mon trésor: A sweet French nickname meaning “My treasure.”
Mon zazou: The word looks a little wild, and that's what it means, essentially. "My wild one".
Nana: Used in many parts of France, it means “chick.”
P’tit diamant: Literally means "little diamond", and refers to someone you hold of high value.
P’tite poupée: It means little doll.
Pépette: A cool nickname for a girlfriend you value highly.
Pépito: Pepito is a comic-book hero, and normally is meant for someone who displays bravery of some sort.
Petit loup: It means "little wolf", and again keeps with the animal theme.
Petit sucre rose: Literally means "small, pink sugar".
Petite licorne: It means "little unicorn".
Pioupiou: A sweet animal sound that works as a cute nickname for a male.
Pomme d’amour: It means, literally, "apple of love". It's also used for "candy apple".
Poulette: It means "chick", and is used the same as in English.
Pupuce: It's like calling someone a "honey pot".
Régalette: If he or she is an excellent cook or loves to eat, then this is the perfect name for them.
Roudoudou: Relates to a sweet French food, so it's essentially calling her "sweet".
Sucre d’or: It means "sweet gold" - who wouldn't want to be called that?
Super pipelette: If she is innocently and sweetly talkative, in an adorable way, this is the thing to say.
Tigrou: It means "Tigger", from Winnie the Pooh. Meant to signify high-energy, excitable, friendly, and even a little innocently arrogant.
Zebulon: If used, it basically means someone that is a busy-body - but in a good way.
Zeus: Named for the primary Greek God, it embodies a very serious compliment. All things God-like for a special man.
Zoubida: Actually Arabic, it's also a French word that means "lover".
Useful Travel Resources for Paris
Paris Map – Plan your trip around Paris with this handy map
RentalCars.com – Great site for comparing rental car prices
Skyscanner.net – Our favorite place to book cheap airline flights
Expedia.com – Book affordable accommodation or bundle flights and hotels in Paris.
Recommended Guidebook: Lonely Planet Paris
Suggested Reading: A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition - Ernest Hemingway