Sunday, 14 December 2008

A Pig, a Dog or a Cabbage for a Lover! Terms of Endearment!

How would your beloved react if you called her/him a little flea, a snake, a puppy, a dog or a cabbage?

People love to play with words and give compliments to their beloved person. There is infinite variety in how people use words as terms of endearment. Terms of endearment or what names you give to your beloved varies from culture to culture.

Photo credit: G. Carrillo

Terms of Endearment Used by Lovers in Different Cultures

You can find a South American lover in Chile or Peru whispering to the ear of his/her beloved perrita (a little dog) while she calls him gallo (cockerel). Oso/osito (bear or little bear), gato/gatito (cat or little cat) and even mono/monito (monkey or little monkey) are rather common names for lovers.

The Mexican way with words might be hard for North American women to understand. The Mexican man might call his beloved wife gordita (fat woman) though she might be slim or his wife as mi vieja (my old woman) though she might be young. Mi vieja implies much respect and affection and doesn’t mean my old hag, as someone with less insight might interpret.

Some French and Belgian men associate love with gastronomic delight by calling their beloved mon chou (my cabbage) as men do in Somalia qaali. In France there are many animals joining in the amorous pursuits of humans. The amorous French man might call his lover ma biche (my doe), ma puce (my little flea), ma cocotte or ma poule (my little chicken) or ma petite caille (my little quail). She responds by calling the gallant Gaul mon gros loup (my big wolf) or mon lapin (my rabbit).

The Poles bring an entirely different menagerie into the bedroom. In Poland the beloved woman might be called a rybko (fish), zabeczko (a frog), muszko (a tiny fly), króliczku (chick), ptaszku (little bird) or even musczeczko (tiny sweet fly).

The Serbs also invite an entire zoo into the bedroom. Misˇu (a mouse), Pile malo (little chicken), prase (piglet), konj (horse), kobila (mare). The Serbian man might call his beloved dragana, while she will call him a dragan. You might imagine a dragon but it means beloved. 

The Russians also have all kinds of animals in their embraces - Legushka (little frog), rybochka (little fish), kissochka (little snake), svinochka (piglet), krysochka (little mouse) or sokol (falcon). 

Photo source:

Terms of Endearment Not For Mothers-in-Law

There are all kinds of expressions for mothers-in-laws in different languages, most of them pretty harsh on the poor ladies. 

Is that why the Aboriginal societies in Australia had customs prohibiting people from directly talking to their mother in law? 

To reduce friction, both men and women needed to communicate via a third person.

Do you know any animal names used between lovers?


Angus said...

Funny and interesting post. There are so many different words to express love.

Jemima said...

Liked the article. Strange how animal names can be used for lovers, but in different contexts they can became swear words.

graci_as said...

how about my deer?