I was wondering about female pet names, like darling, sweetie, pet, babe, etc.

One of my characters refers to his other half as "pet" but I've been told that this is common to the North East (UK). As my character is from London, I was wondering what pet names are used by Londoners?

I've tried Googling this, but it may be that I have the wrong terminology! I keep getting results for what to call your female animal pet!

All help appreciated!


I found this after I Googled "terms of endearment" - I found it really useful so hopefully someone else will as well!


  • 2
    At first I thought you meant names that a woman would give to her dog or cat. I presume that ambiguity is why you had trouble googling.
    – Jay
    Apr 17, 2015 at 17:28
  • I definitely thought the same thing.
    – Nicole
    Apr 18, 2015 at 0:13
  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because It is really more about geography than writing, but I doubt that there is any geographic reference with such Information. I was hesitant to vote to close the first time I saw this as you need an answer better than just call the london tourism bureau, but it is off topic.
    – hildred
    Apr 18, 2015 at 1:10
  • 2
    @hildred I must admit that I have never read the site rules, but I feel that questions about how to do research should be on topic on a site aiming to help writers. I have voted to leave open.
    – user5645
    Apr 24, 2015 at 7:39
  • @what, how to research is on topic, random trivia needed to flesh out the setting is not. fixed by edit, I endorse reopen.
    – hildred
    Apr 24, 2015 at 12:16

3 Answers 3


Try looking up "British terms of endearment" instead. You should find several links. This one looks good in particular.


Terms of endearment are, by their very nature, quite individual. You may want one that is common and doesn't draw attention to itself. In that case go for something like 'darling'. However, if you want to give your character uniqueness, have them use individual terms, such as 'lotus blossom'. Pick something that will reveal something about him or her.

You can also have your character do what some people do: use a set of themed terms, for example, 'possum', 'platypus', 'emu', 'kookaburra'.

  • 2
    I once heard a co-worker call his wife "turkey face" over the phone. I can't help but wonder if she actually found that a cute pet name. He did not have any obvious physical injuries the next day.
    – Jay
    Apr 17, 2015 at 17:29
  • My point exactly. People call their partners all sorts of things. Apr 17, 2015 at 18:12
  • Speaking as an American, there are certainly some very commonly used pet names that men have for their wives and girlfriends. Darling, honey, baby, babe, and sweetheart come to mind. Of course some couples are more creative. If a writer just wants to give the idea that these two people are affectionate, I think a common pet name would probably be good. Using something odd might stand out too much, or possibly even have the reader not realizing it's a pet name and wondering what it means.
    – Jay
    Sep 16, 2018 at 23:21

I grew up in London and live within commuting distance. These are just my impressions - I haven't done a survey!

Between spouses or couples I would say the most common pet names used in London and the surrounding area are "Darling" and "Love".

"Love" is more working class, "Darling" more middle class. However there is a lot of overlap. Both terms could be used either by men or women.

The use of any pet name between the partners would suggest to me that it is a long established relationship - people who have just started going out tend to simply use each other's first names. It would also suggest to me that the people are middle aged or older.

I'd guess that "darling" and "love" are also the most common pet names used by people who don't know the person spoken to - e.g. a market trader addressing a customer. In this context use of pet names is very much a working class thing. Middle class Londoners are more formal.

My impression is that any sort of pet names are used less often in London and SE England than in other parts of the UK.

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