French Terms of Endearment

A mom might call her child mon chou or ma belle.

Given that French is considered to be the language of love, it stands to reason that there are many French terms of endearment. In fact, the French are quite famous for their amorous love phrases. It's interesting to note that these French terms of endearment are closely related to French values. For example, if you've ever visited France, you know that they love their dogs and cats.

Animal-Related Terms of Endearment

According to the Francophiles website, France is the most pet-loving country in Europe. Residents of France have:

  • Over 8 million cats
  • Over 7 million cats
  • Over 5 million birds
  • Over 21 million fish

Therefore, it stands to reason that some of the French terms of endearment include:

  • Mon Mimi: My Pussycat
  • Mon Minette: Also my Pussycat
  • Ma Chaton: My Kitten
  • Mon Lapin: My Rabbit

Consider the expression "Avoir du chien." Translated lierally, it means "to have a dog.' However, in French, it is the complete opposite of what it means in English. In French, avoir du chien implies that someone is attractive. While this may sound unusual, notice the relationship between the French and their dogs. They are literally a part of the family. Dogs are allowed in restaurants, in stores, on buses and subways. With such a close relationship with their pets, it stands to reason that animal terms would be used as French terms of endearment.

French Terms of Endearment Based on Food

When one considers the French pride that the French take in their superb cooking skills, it stands to reason that they would word their favorite terms of endearment after their prized dishes. Perhaps the sensuality of taste-related endearments contributes to the sense of romance. However, since the French take great pride in their marvelous cuisine, perhaps naming someone after a favorite food is the highest compliment. So if someone calls you "mon sucre d'orge", which translates into "my barley sugar," they are actually giving you a compliment. If they think that you are particularly fluffy and tasty, you may earn the honor of being called "mon chou," which translates into "my sweetie." Ma crotte refers to a small round of goat cheese. It also refers to "my droppings," which makes it interesting that this is considered to be a term of endearment.

Talking to French Children

If you have studied French, you know that the French have two words for "you;" "tu" and "vous." In most cases, tu is reserved for people with whom you are familiar, and vous is considered more formal. However, when speaking with young children, it is acceptable to use the more familiar "tu."

How to Speak the Language of Love

How do you say "I love you" in French? Let us count the ways. Start with "Je t'aime." The "J" in "je" is pronounced like the "g" in mirage, and the "e" is pronounced like the double "o" in the word "good." To respond to a "Je t'aime," say "Je t'aime aussi". Pronounce "aussi" like "oh see." If someone really loves you, they will say "Je t'adore," which translates literally into, "I adore you." If they decide to pop the question, they will probably say "Veux-tu m'épouser?" which is of course, a bit different from "Voulez -vous coucher avec moi, ce soir""

Keep in mind, if you find a particular term of endearment to be humorous, the effect will not be very romantic. As such, choose terms that you can take seriously. Additionally, watch your pronunciation. If it's not correct, you might end up saying things that you don't really mean!

French Terms of Endearment