Other than saying “je t’aime” (I love you) in French, there are numerous ways to express admiration for someone. Learning French terms of endearment will help you express your love and affection in unique ways, giving you the opportunity to keep yourself closer to the ones you love and appreciate.
Have you already expressed your feelings in French? If not, this post is for you. We will explore some French terms of endearment that will help you to be express and affectionate pouring the right amount of love and care.
We will highlight the expressions one by one along with their English meaning to make you understand better. You will also get to learn basic French words that you can use to expand your French vocabulary.
English meaning: My love
You have probably heard of this term because it is pretty common. It has a similar sound to other romance languages and is frequently used by English speakers.
The meaning of mon amour is straightforward, and you will probably hear it the most often of all the entries on the list, though it’s usually reserved for romantic partners or love interests.
English meaning: My heart
Mon cœur is not as frequently used in English as it is in French. Mon cœur literally translates to “my sweetheart.”
This is commonly used in romantic situations, but it can also be used by parents to refer to their children. In this way, English is similar because most English speakers refer to their own children similarly.
English meaning: My other half
While it is more literally translated in English as “my other half,” I prefer to think of it as “my better half.” After all, isn’t that the whole point? We elevate our other halves by placing them on a pedestal. Like in English, ma moitié refers to a “partner in crime” or a “main squeeze.”
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English meaning: My cuddly thing
The strange thing about this term is that there is no literal translation!
A doudou is a toddler’s most cherished item, usually a stuffed animal or blanket they can’t sleep, live, or breathe without. And, you guessed it, it’s a popular French term for endearment.
Doudou is a slang term used by international French speakers, particularly in African countries, to refer to a girlfriend or wife. Although it is intended for women, it can be used as an endearing term for both sexes.
English meaning: My treasure
Although it literally means “my treasure,” you more accurately translate it as “my precious,” referring to a loved one. Mon trésor can be said to men and women, friends, family, and children in French.
English meaning: My angel
In English, “my angel” is a popular term for endearment. Other variations include “angel face,” “my sweet angel,” and so on. We don’t hear this one very often in English, and while it may be more common in French, we still wouldn’t classify it as one of the most common terms of endearment. Mon ange can be directed at both sexes as well as children and lovers.
English meaning: My baby
Bébé is up there with mon coeur, mon trésor, ma chérie, and mon amour on the “typical” list. This French term of endearment is very common and can be used in almost any situation.
A baby can be anyone. This can be used to refer to your lover, a friend, a child, or even a pet! Just keep in mind that this word is masculine and will remain so regardless of who uses it.
English meaning: My cat
Mon chat is appropriate for both sexes. This isn’t the most common term of endearment, but it’s still useful to know if you come across it.
Similar to mon chou, mon chat also has many cute varieties:
- mon chatounet (m) / ma chatounette (f)
- minou (masculine only)
- minet (m) / minette (f)
- mon p’tit chaton (my little kitty, unisex)
English meaning: My chicky
Poussin translates to “chick,” not “hot babe,” but rather “baby chicken.” So, while it’s a masculine word, it’s still unisex with little variations.
mon poussinet (m) / ma poussinette (f) — A cuter version of “chicky”
Mon loulou (m) / Ma louloute (f)
While the name loulou does not actually mean anything, it is thought to be derived from the French word loup, which means “wolf.”Loulou is technically the diminutive of loup, but the two words are not interchangeable.
The female version is spelled either ma louloute or ma louloutte. Mon loup (my wolf) is another option, but keep in mind that mon loulou and mon loup are only said to men or boys—no exceptions.
English meaning: My bird
Oiseau is the word for “bird” in French. Other phrases include Mon petit oiseau (my little bird), Mon oisillon (my little birdie).
Both mon oisillon and mon petit oiseau are used to address both males and females. “My little lovey-dovey,” “my little birdie,” or “my little dove” are some English equivalents. This one is intended for romantic partners, but you can also see it being used for children as well.
English meaning: My teddy bear
Although the technical term is mon ours (my bear), this abbreviated version is more common. Because it is cute, native French speakers are more likely to use mon nounours. And, like mon loup, it should only be directed at men.
“My little teddy bear” or “my teddy bear” are two English translations. This one is appropriate for both romantic partners and children.
English meaning: My duckling
Canard translates to “duck” in French. Mon caneton is a charming, cuter way to express love while discussing ducks.
This phrase has no variations, but it can be used for both males and females, so disregard the masculinity! This is a common way to refer to children.
English meaning: My chicken
What’s the deal with French poultry? They eat a lot of it, which may explain why there are so many endearing terms that honor French culinary culture. Ma poule, like mon poussin, refers to “chickens” and endearingly means “chickie-poo.”
Although ma poule is unisex, other variations include:
- mon poulet (m) — this version can only be said to males
- ma poulette (f) — females only
English meaning: My shrimp
Ma crevette, last but not least has a feminine ending and is a diminutive word. Endearing name that is either animal-related or food-related. The closest English equivalent is “munchkin.”
Ma crevette can be difficult to understand because calling someone a shrimp is not exactly the highest of compliments in English. In French, the opposite is true. It is used to refer to someone as small in a cutesy rather than derogatory manner.
These are some very common French terms of endearment. If you find it difficult to pronounce these words, you can seek guidance from French tutors. These tutors will help you with French pronunciation as well as develop the required knowledge to use the right phrase or term in the right situation.
Many people wonder about how long it takes to learn French. To answer this question you first need to assess your learning patterns, your progress rate, and how much time you are allocating to learn French on daily basis. Develop a consistent learning schedule and keep following it until you become a fluent French speaker.
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