35 Spanish Nicknames
Nicknames and pet names are just fun. We all use them in one way or another and they can add a lot of meaning to the way we communicate with our friends and loved ones. Many of the nicknames that we use on a daily basis are just regular words that have somehow morphed into terms of endearment.
Words like honey, baby, babe, and pumpkin, all represent specific objects or things but when used as nicknames, they take on a completely different meaning.
These terms aren’t just meant for your significant other either. Think about all the nicknames you use with your friends. Terms like dude, bro, girl, and homeboy all fall into this category as well.
How did these words come to mean such drastically different things? No one really knows. What we do know is that every culture has words like these; simple words that have somehow become just a little bit more important in our daily communication with those we love.
Learning these words in your target language can help you become more connected to the language and the culture that surrounds it. Knowing these terms and how to use them will get you one step closer to sounding like a true native speaker.
Of course, I can’t explain nicknames in every language in a single article, so I decided to focus on a single language that offers a bunch of fun nicknames: Spanish. Every language has interesting things to offer, but there is just something special about Spanish. It is a bright, fun language that is full of entertaining slang and idioms.
There are a lot of incredible Spanish nicknames and pet names to choose from, but I had to narrow it down a little, so here are 35 of my favorite Spanish nicknames and terms of endearment.
35 of My Favorite Spanish Nicknames
Just like English, Spanish has different categories of nicknames. Some are meant to be a bit more romantic while others are more sarcastic. There are also some terms that would not be considered endearing at all. I will include a couple of these toward the end but for the most part, I wanted to focus on the kinder side of nicknames.
Romantic Spanish Nicknames
We all have something special that we call our significant other. Sometimes the names are sweet and sometimes they are silly, but I think most of us would agree that there is just something wonderful about hearing that special nickname from the person we love. Here are a few of the best Spanish options when it comes to romantic nicknames.
1. Corazón / Mi Corazón
If you’ve been studying Spanish for any amount of time, you are probably already familiar with this word and can guess why you would use it to refer to your spouse. Corazón means ‘heart’, so whether you say ‘corazón’ or ‘mi corazón’ it is sure to convey a lot of love.
2. Mi Alma
Latin cultures are known for being very romantic and that can easily be seen in some of their more common nicknames for lovers. Take this one for example: ‘mi alma’ which literally translates to ‘my soul’. Don’t use this one unless you’re serious.
3. Mi Vida
Calling your significant other, ‘my life’, may feel a little over the top, but if you stop to think about it, it is seriously romantic. Saying it in Spanish makes it even more romantic if you ask me.
You probably already know this one from movies and television shows, but I think it still deserves a mention. Amor is a very common nickname used in romantic relationships. Considering that it means ‘love’ or ‘my love’, that seems only appropriate.
5. Mi Cielo / Cielito
This is one of my absolute favorites, it means ‘my sky’ or ‘little sky’. As a term of endearment, it is sometimes translated as ‘my heaven’. Either way, it is very romantic.
6. Cariño / Cariña
Cariño (or cariña) means dear or darling. This is a very common romantic nickname. So common that ‘términos de cariño’ is Spanish for 'terms of endearment'. I’m not sure which came first, the word being used as a nickname or the word being used in a phrase referring to this type of nickname, but either way, this is a classic.
7. Mi Rey / Mi Reina
This is a nickname that most people would surely appreciate. Rey means king and reina means queen. No matter which you choose, it’s always nice to be considered royalty by those we love.
This is a classic pet name in any language. It literally translates to beautiful, so you know you can’t go wrong with this one.
Although you may recognize this as a common English name, it is also a Spanish and Portuguese word meaning pretty or lovely. This is a sweet pet name that is sure to win you some brownie points.
10. Viejo / Vieja
This one is more for couples that have been together for a long time. ‘Viejo’ is the word for old, so this is basically like calling your husband ‘old man’ or your wife ‘old woman’. This can be endearing or insulting, depending on your perspective, so use with caution!
Friendly Spanish Nicknames
Some of these nicknames can be a little weird for English speakers to get used to. Many Spanish nicknames refer to a person’s physical attributes, which could be considered rude or insulting in English-speaking cultures. Just keep in mind that this is a different culture and these are meant to be endearing and are not typically considered rude.
That being said, no matter what culture you’re from, you should always be conscientious of how your friends feel about these nicknames before using them. Okay, let’s proceed!
This is a nickname that is used quite often in Mexican culture. You’ve probably even heard it used in English movies or on television whenever a Mexican character is speaking to a friend. This is almost exclusively used among men and can be roughly translated to ‘homeboy’.
13. Negro / Negra
You may recognize this one as the Spanish word for the color black. Negro is often used for people who have particularly dark coloring or are simply the darkest person in a group. Negrito (or negrita) is a common variation of this nickname that is often used by parents to refer to children.
14. Güero / Güera
Güero is the opposite of negro. This is often used for pale individuals or those with light coloring such as blonds. Güerito is a common variation of this one.
15. China / Chino
Here is a nickname that can cause confusion. China (or chino if you need the masculine version) means Chinese in most situations, but in Mexico, it has taken on an interesting usage. This nickname is used to refer to people with curly hair!
16. Gordito / Gordita
This nickname probably makes you think of a fast-food flatbread taco, but that’s not what I’m going for here. Gordito literally translates to ‘little fat one’ or ‘chubby one’. This may not sound particularly nice to English speakers, but it is usually used to refer to someone in a sweet or cute way, not in a rude way.
Primo means cousin, but you don’t have to reserve this term for family members. This can be used to refer to any close friend, kind of like how we use the words ‘bro’ or ‘sister’.
Güey, pronounced ‘wey’, means ox, but it is sometimes used in the way we use ‘dude’. It is often used in a joking way, but it can also be used to refer to someone as silly or dumb, so be careful with this one.
19. Jefe / Jefa
Here is another word that you should be familiar with. Jefe means boss, so this is a good nickname for the leaders in your life.
20. Chica / Chico
Chica translates to 'young girl', but it is often used the same way that we use ‘girl’ when talking to friends. You could say, “Qué tal, chica?” just as you would say, “What’s up, girl?” Chico, the masculine version, is less common, but can still be used in some cultures.
Cute Spanish Nicknames
As you read through this section, you’ll probably notice a pattern. The diminutive suffix ‘ito’ (or ‘ita’) can be added to most words to change that word into a cute nickname. This can even be added to a person’s name. For example, Juan would become Juanito or Gaby would be Gabita. This is considered a very affectionate nickname.
21. Chiquito / Chiquita
Similar to chico or chica, this is another word that means boy or girl, respectively. As you can guess, this literally translates to ‘little boy’ or ‘little girl’, but it can be used for children or adults alike.
This one means ‘little rabbit’ which is super cute no matter who you are.
‘Little fruit’ may seem like a very odd nickname for English speakers, but if you think about it, we use food for nicknames as well. Consider nicknames like, ‘muffin’, ‘cupcake’, or ‘sugarplum’. Food nicknames are actually fairly common in most languages, which shows that all cultures have at least a few things in common.
Peque means ‘small’. This is a common nickname used to refer to small children in Mexico.
25. Chaparrita / Chaparrito
This one is used mostly in Mexico. It literally means ‘short one’ or ‘short little one’, so it is usually used with children, but not exclusively.
26. Chulo / Chula
Chulo means cute, so, as you can imagine, this one can be used for just about anyone that you would feel comfortable calling cute. This can be used for adults and children alike.
27. Monito / Monita
Monito is a playful nickname that means ‘little monkey’. This is a fun one for children, but can be used for your adult friends too if you know anyone particularly silly.
Here is another food nickname! Galleta means cookie, so if you know anyone who is lovely and sweet, galletita may be the perfect nickname for them.
If you know someone who is even sweeter than a little cookie, you could call them ‘azúcar’. Azúcar means sugar, so this may be a pet name that you use already.
30. Mi Muñeca
Muñeca means doll, so this is the perfect nickname for someone small and sweet for whom you feel protective.
Less Friendly Nicknames
We all have that one person in our lives who may deserve a slightly not-nice nickname. I would never encourage you to call anyone mean names, but here are a few nicknames that could be used in a sarcastic way with friends.
Torpe means clumsy or klutzy, so this one might work if you have a friend who isn’t particularly coordinated.
32. Tonto / Tonta
Tonto is a term that is often used for people who are very silly or not too intelligent. This one is similar to calling someone stupid, so be careful if you choose to use this term.
You can probably guess the meaning of this one and it isn’t very nice. Some people use this nickname jokingly with their close friends, but I would not encourage using it very often. Even as a joke, calling someone an idiot is rarely acceptable.
This is a somewhat rare word used to describe someone who looks or behaves like a gangster. It can also be translated as ‘troublemaker’ or ‘punk’. This word originated with an interesting subculture of Mexican Americans who developed their own society in the 1930s and 1940s. ‘Pachuco’ is also a slang dialect that is unique to Costa Rica. There is a long history behind this term that makes it by far the most interesting term on this list.
35. Lengua Larga
Last, but not least, we have ‘lengua larga’. This nickname can be used to affectionately, or not so affectionately, call someone a chatty Cathy. It can be translated as ‘long tongue’ and is often used to refer to people who have a big mouth.
Why We Use Nicknames and Pet Names
After reading some of the more interesting nicknames on this list, you may be wondering: why do we use nicknames at all? They all seem a little bit odd if you put too much thought into it. But nicknames and pet names are actually an important part of every relationship.
Although there aren’t a huge number of scientific studies on the subject, the few studies that have been done show that using nicknames, especially in romantic relationships, creates a special kind of intimacy. When you and your partner have special nicknames for each other, it is almost like having your own unique language.
When it comes to having nicknames for your friends, this can be a great way to connect and share inside jokes.
Knowing this, you can easily understand why it’s so important to learn nicknames in your target language, especially if your target language is Spanish. Latin cultures are well-known for being friendly and openly affectionate. Nicknames and terms of endearment are an extremely important part of the way they communicate which means that if you want to speak like a native, you’ll want to learn these terms.
Spanish Nicknames: Final Thoughts
Nicknames and pet names are important, even if they seem kind of silly on the surface. Learning how to use fun and friendly nicknames in your target language is sure to take you one step closer to speaking like a true native. This is especially true if your target language is Spanish.
If you love Spanish as much as I do and are ready to knuckle down and finally learn a second (or third) language, then why not check out some of the awesome online language programs available today. Not sure which program will work for you? No problem, check out these in-depth reviews that are sure to help you find the right program for you.
Remember, learning a new language can be hard, but it is always rewarding! Just imagine how fun it will be to give your partner a Spanish nickname or joke around with your Spanish-speaking friends, creating incredible memories. I hope this fun article has inspired you to keep pursuing your dream of becoming fluent in Spanish. Happy learning!