92 French terms of endearment: Nicknames and pet names

From stuffed toys to farm animals to vegetables, French terms of endearment vary widely. Get the funniest, sweetest, and most romantic French nicknames for your loved one.
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Behind closed doors, everyone has their favorite set of nicknames. And French terms of endearment vary widely. French is the language of love, so you know that French pet names and nicknames were going to be quite evocative.

Some are cute and romantic, others more unique and nonsensical. Living in France for 10+ years, I’ve heard the gamut. We have everything from stuffed toys to farm animals to vegetables as pet names.

There’s so many different French nicknames that I’ve had to break them down into categories. One thing to note is that unlike in English, where we just say “My Dear”, and the “My” is the same if it is male or female, in French you have to adjust it to “Mon” for a male and “Ma” for female.

In addition, the noun object also changes spelling at times to agree to the Mon/Ma. If that sounds confusing, not to worry, it will become evident as we go through!

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Male and Female Nicknames

1. Mon cœur

English translation: My heart

Mon coeur is an easy one that can refer to a man, woman, or child. Even though it means “heart”, it is not restricted to a romantic interest as it is somewhat similar to “sweetheart” in English, in that it can be used for a child. Other variations of this are:

  • Mon petit cœur – my little heart

An example of how this is used is “Coucou, qu’est ce que tu fais mon cœur?” It is rather a strong sentiment though, compared to “sweetheart” which North Americans tend to throw around rather casually.

In other words, be careful if you are using it with someone you’ve only just started dating! You don’t want to throw out an inadvertent “I love you“, after all!

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2. Mon amour

English translation: My love

Mon amour is another one that is used a lot for adults and children. Other variations include:

  • Amour de ma vie – the love of my life
  • Bébé d’Amour – My sweet baby / love bug

3. Mon ange

English translation: My angel

Because “ange” begins with a vowel, the same “mon ange” term and spelling is used for males and females, even though an angel is a person. Other variations are:

  • Mon petit ange – My little angel

4. Mon Rayon de soleil

English translation: Ray of sunshine

If you occasionally hum to yourself the English song “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine”, you will appreciate mon rayon de soleil.

5. Mon Trésor

English translation: My Treasure

This one is the same whether you are referring to a male or female. In conversation, you would use it as “Bonjour, mon trésor“.

6. Mon bébé

English translation: My baby

Baby, baby, baby. In the same sense as in English, mon bébé can be used on adults and children. Note, bébé always stays masculine, even if it is a girl. “Mon bébé est une fille” – My baby is a girl.

7. Mon étoile

English translation: My star

My star, or rather my shining star, is not one that is used that often in English or in French, but I included it on the list anyway.

8. Mon Bijou

English translation: My Jewel

Mon bijou translates literally to my jewel, but it is more along the sense of the English “my precious”. Bijou is always male, so mon bijou applies to male and female.

If Gollum from Lord of the Rings was French, I imagine he would say “mon bijou” rather than “mon precieux“, but I suppose we can leave that to the Tolkien translation team.

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For Male or Female depending on spelling

1. Mon Chéri / Ma chérie

English translation: My dear

The classic “my dear”, mon chéri can be used on adults and children. Part of the reason the name is so well known is the little liquor-filled chocolates with the same name. (The company that sells them though is Italian, not French!)

Ma cherie is often used in French love poetry as well, which you can read more about here.

2. Mon prince / Ma princesse

English translation: My prince / princess

The royal treatment in French, with mon prince and ma princesse. Just like in English, this can be used for adults and children.

With most of the terms of endearment, you can add a “petit” in there, such as mon petit amour, mon petit trésor, etc. or even ma petite princesse. But in the case of mon petit prince, you still can, but a French person will immediately reference the famous French book “Le Petit Prince” instead.

ring toys for baby illustration

3. Doudou / Doudounette

English translation: favorite toy

This is probably one of the first words that every French child learns, doudou, meaning their favorite toy. They won’t be able to say a full sentence but they will still be able to call out for the doudou.

Mostly associated with children, parents will often call their little ones doudou, or doudounette.

Variations include:

  • Mon doudou tout doux – My super-soft toy
  • Mon doudou tout migon – My really cute toy

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4. Loulou / Louloutte

English translation: no translation

Loulou is a very common French nickname, but it doesn’t really have a meaning. It could reference the loup (wolf) which is quite popular in children’s literature in France, but there is no proven connection.

It falls in the family of “cute words” in French like coucou, doudou, nounou (nanny) etc. Variations include:

  • Lilou – nickname for Lily
  • Pilou – stuffed toy, name of a rugby team’s song
  • Filou – nickname for Philip

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5. Petit mignon / mignonne

English translation: Cute little one

This one is usually reserved for children, but you could always use it with someone who is quite a bit younger than you are (we’re not judging!) Other variations include:

  • Ma Mignonne (female) – My cute one

6. Mon grande / ma Grande

English translation: My big guy/girl

Mon grande means “my big guy/girl”, and just like in English, you can use it to refer to an adult or child. Just like in English, it has nothing to do with the physical size of the person.

7. Ma poupée

English translation: My doll

Ma poupée is usually only reserved for females, and usually only for small female children. Variations include:

  • Poupette
  • Poupinette

8. Ma Perle

English translation: My pearl

Another one reserved only for females is the exquisite “ma perle“. It can be used for adults and children, the same as “my pearl” would be in English.

9. Mon beau / ma belle

English translation: My handsome one / My pretty one

As the famous Beatles song goes Michelle, ma belle. You will also remember Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Mon beau is rarer as a term of endearment in France, but you may still hear it occasionally.

bicycle with flowers

For a Boyfriend or Girlfriend

These romantic French terms of endearment are usually reserved for that special loved one in your life.

1. Mon cœur d’amour

English translation: My heart of love

Combining two terms of endearment, you can go all-in with mon cœur d’amour with your special someone.

2. Mon roi / Ma reine

English translation: My King / My Queen

A step up from the prince and princess is the King and Queen. Mon Roi was also the name of a 2015 Vincent Cassel film that won quite a few awards at the Césars (the French version of the Oscars).

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3. Ma beauté

English translation: My Beauty

At the risk of being sexist, ma beauté is reserved for females. Usually reserved for your significant other, although I suppose you could also use it for horses!

4. Ma moitié

English translation: My (Other) Half

Ma moitié may be feminine, but the phrase can be used for males and females. The French don’t really say “my better half”, or “my other half”, it just “my half”. For example: il est là-bas, ma moitié (he is over there, my half).

5. Mon Roméo

English translation: My Romeo

O Roméo! Roméo! Pourquoi es-tu Roméo? Yes, Shakespeare has been translated into French (!?), and French people do study his books in school. So you can’t blame them for adopting the star-crossed lovers in their list of nicknames.

Pet Names based on Nature

1. Fleur

English translation: My flower

Ma petite fleur, my little flower is always a sweet way to address someone. Similar to English, it would usually only be addressed to females.

2. Ma petale

English translation: My petal

Continuing the floral theme is the petal, which again would likely only be used for women and female children.

3. Ma rose

English translation: My rose

Ah, the rose by any other name (or language) that would smell just as sweet.

4. Ma noisette

English translation: My hazelnut

Ma noisette is one of the odder ones on the list, but it sounds better in French than it does in English. It is actually a somewhat popular girl’s name in France, meaning determination and passion.

5. Mon pomme d’amour

English translation: My candy apple

Candy apples may be bad for your teeth, but no one says you can’t use pomme d’amour on a Valentine’s day card as a French term of endearment for your significant other.

Nicknames for Friends

1. Chef

English translation: Boss

Chef in French can mean the “chef who cooks”, but it is also the French word for boss. “Mon chef m’a demandé de finir cette rapport,” meaning “my boss asked me to finish that report”.

So when you refer to your friend as “chef”, it is seen as a sign of friendship and a nice way of saying that you are going to do as your friend suggests.

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2. Champion

English translation: Champion

Just as in English, when you refer to someone as a champion, it is a way of showing affection.

3. Cousin/Cousine

English translation: Cousin

Salut Cousin doesn’t necessarily have to refer to your cousin here, but a good friend that you consider family.

4. Frangin/Frangine

English translation: Sibling (slang)

Frangin and frangine, basically means “bro” or “sis”, and is a casual way to refer to one’s siblings. Unlike cousin, you wouldn’t really use it on friends however, it is usually reserved for family members.

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5. Frérot

English translation: Brother (slang)

Frérot is another one that derives from the French word frére, meaning brother.

6. Mec

English translation: Buddy/Guy

Hey Mec“, is a way of calling someone like “Hey dude” in English. On the other hand, if you say “mon mec“, that is a nickname for “my guy”, as in “my boyfriend”.

7. Mon/Ma Pote

English translation: Friend/Buddy

Mon pote is a casual way of saying “my friend”, and usually refers to a good friend. Variations include:

  • Poto

Pet Names based on Food

1. Mon chou / choupette

English translation: My cabbage

The famous cabbage has many entries in this section. Other variations include:

  • chouchou (m) / chouchoutte (f)
  • choupinou (m) / ma choupinette (f)
  • mon petit chou (m)
  • choupette  (f)
  • pitchou (m/f)
  • pitchoune (m) / pitchounette (f)

These are all versions of small cabbage (petit chou). Calling someone a cabbage is very popular in France, as you can tell!

2. Petite miette

English translation: Little crumb

A sweet little crumb that you don’t want to sweep away.

3. Choucroute

English translation: My sauerkraut

Staying with the cabbage category, here is the pickled cabbage. I hate sauerkraut so I have issues with this one but if you like it, go for it.

4. Ma biscotte

English translation: My rusk bread

Like miette, biscotte also sounds lovely in French, and so works as a nickname here. There are a lot of popular French girl’s names that sound similar like Cosette and Josette, so biscotte falls into that trend.

5. Mon bouchon

English translation: My bottle cork

France is the leading producer of fine wines in the world, so why not a nickname with wine.

6. Mon petit sushi

English translation: My little sushi

Mon petit sushi is probably more of a Parisian one, since there are nearly as many sushi places in Paris as there are in New York. I love sushi, so I can’t disavow this one.

7. Ma cocotte

English translation: My casserole dish

Cocotte sounds better in French than casserole dish, and so this does work in French, even if the translation does sound a little strange.

8. Mon coco

English translation: My egg

Mon coco works as a term of affection and pet name for both adults and children. In English we have the expression “he’s a good egg”, although that is not really a term of endearment.

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Nicknames for Children based on Animals

1. Ma puce

English translation: My flea

Ma puce sounds strange, but it is actually quite a common pet name in French. It can even be said among close friends, unlike some of the others which are usually reserved for partners and children.

2. Mon lapin

English translation: My bunny rabbit

  • lapinou (m)
  • lapinet (m)

The bunny rabbit is popular in all languages, so no surprise to see mon lapin on the list. Note, I have put this under animals, but actually rabbits are a delicacy in France, so I could actually have put this under the food section!

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3. Poussin

English translation: Baby Chick

And speaking of food, we have the cute and cuddly baby chick. Other variations include:

  • Ma Poule – My Chicken, my hen

4. Ma biche

English translation: Young doe

The equivalent of Bambi, ma biche is a somewhat popular one the list. Just beware the pronunciation however! Other variations include:

  • Bichette (f)

5. Chaton

English translation: Kitten

The ever popular cat and kittens are always good for a sweet nickname, and chaton is no different. Other variations include:

  • Ma petite chatte (f)
  • Minette (f)
  • Minou (f)

6. Mon nounours

English translation: My teddy bear

We could never leave out the teddy bear off our list. Mon grand nounours has a lovely ring to it. Other variations include:

  • Mon ours – my bear

7. Mon caneton

English translation: My duckling

Since we had baby chicks on the list, we couldn’t leave out baby ducks. (Ducks are also a delicacy, so along with the chickens, all of these should have been the food category!?) Anyway, other variations include:

  • Mon canard – My (adult) duck

8. Ma crevette

English translation: My shrimp

And speaking of food, there is the shrimp.

9. Mon petit loup / ma petite louve

English translation: My little wolf

Petit loup is a very popular nickname for kids, because there is a famous series of French children’s books called Petit Loup and the Loup.

Wolves are quite popular in French culture, there is also one of top French songs for kids involving a wolf, called “Promenons-nous dans les bois“.

10. Petit oiseau

English translation: My little bird

The sweet little birdie can be used for adults and children, but tends to usually be for the little ones.

11. Ma loutre

English translation: My otter

One of the odder (or should I say otter) ones on the list is la loutre. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself :p

12. Ma petite marmotte

English translation: My groundhog

We have the otter and groundhogs, but there is no mention of beavers on the list. Mon castor just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

13. Mon petit koala

English translation: My little koala

For the cute and clingy ones in your life, the French have the koala. For those who are Australophiles, I’m afraid no kangaroos have made the list.

14. Ver de terre

English translation: My worm

Petit ver de terre is a rather common one for the nursery set aka those small toddlers who are wiggling about as you are trying to get them dressed.

15. Mon tigre / ma tigresse

English translation: My tiger

For the fierce one in your life, there is the tiger. Enough said.

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Strange and Funny Nicknames

1. Mon gros

English translation: My fat man, big man

Mon gros might sound terrible, but it is in the vein of Mon Grande (my big one) that was discussed earlier. Usually only referring to boys and men who don’t easily take offense!

2. Mon petit monstre

English translation: My little monster

Mon petit monstre is can be used for children (both male and female), because children are such little terrors aren’t they?

3. Mon râleur / Ma râleuse

English translation: My complainer

And when they grow up, those French children turn into adults who like to complain and protest, so no one should be surprised that “complainer” is a term of affection. Variations of this include:

  • Melonchonist – Named after Jean Mélonchon, a famous leftist politician.

4. Ma bohême

English translation: My bohemian

Another one that is more of a city-slicker term for those bobo chic Parisians. This one can be used for males and females.

5. Mon pépère

English translation: Grandfather

Mon pépère may sound like an insult, but it really isn’t. It is related to the french words papa (father), papi (grandfather) and pepe (spanish for father).

6. Ma pépette

English translation: Young girl

The female version of pépère might sound like pépette, but it isn’t. It means young girl, because no one wants to be called a fat woman.


So do you have a favorite nickname? Comment below and let me know. You can find out more about the French views of love (and love-making) here. A bientôt!

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