Survey finds cute nicknames help ‘strengthen’ romantic relationships

You know you’ve been in a relationship for a fairly long time when you start to use an odd nickname for your partner and he or she happily goes along with it.

Using a nickname with a partner is common practice in every language, with a recent survey finding that 87% of people use an affectionate nickname for their other half.

Language training specialists Preply surveyed 1,966 people in 14 different languages: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Ukrainian. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old and were 49% female, 49% male and 2% nonbinary.

The survey found that, according to 79% of couples, using an affectionate nickname ‘strengthens’ a relationship.

The most popular pet names for romantic partners are ‘Babe’, ‘Love’, ‘Baby’, ‘Honey’ and (the somewhat more old-school) ‘Dear’.

‘Babe’, ‘Honey’ and ‘Baby’ are the top three affectionate nicknames in English while many other languages saw their own version of ‘Baby’ as their number one, such as ‘Bebe’ in French, ‘Bobby’ in Hebrew, and ‘Kochanie’ in Polish.

With no rules for nicknames, the list of names we can use for one another is endless however the survey found that in most cases people like to use an endearing nickname or something that reminds them of the person (one couple called each other ‘Lettuce’ and ‘Snickers’… go figure).

A common theme discovered across many languages is to call a partner an animal name so as to express affection, popular ones being ‘Kitten’, ‘Mouse’, ‘Puppy’ and ‘Bear’.

Of course, there are some least liked nicknames, too. Although pet-names in relationships are usually founded on sweetness and love, it doesn’t always come across that way. While using an animal name as a term of endearment is common practice, not all animal names are well accepted. Survey respondents revealed there is at least one animal name they consider to be their “least liked”. In fact, for Polish speakers all of the least liked nicknames were animals.

But the nationalities that take the cake for most absurd ‘least liked’ (which means some people actually do call each other these) are Spanish and Ukrainian, the former seeing some peeps call their other half ‘Fatty’ and the rather sexist-sounding ‘Chick’, and the latter dubbing their loved ones ‘Frog’ and (goodness gracious) ‘My Fish’.

In some cases, a name is well-received in one language and unliked in another. For example, ‘Darling’ is popular name in Dutch, Spanish and Japanese, but it is one of the least liked names in German, Portuguese and Hebrew.

Check out some of the other most popular affectionate nicknames, below.

Antonino Tati


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