10 German nicknames to call your sweetheart
Is "honey" getting old? You might want to consider using some of these German terms of endearment for your sweetheart. Careful, though — not all of them sound flattering, and they might take some getting used to.
Mice aren't exactly the sweetest creatures around. They're known for making loud scurrying noises, carrying germs, and being hard to catch. Nevertheless, it's quite common for a man to call his girlfriend or wife a "Maus." The term is also a favorite for small children (which, admittedly, have more in common with the tiny animals). In that case, the diminutive, "Mäuschen," is most appropriate.
As you can imagine, "Hase" is also more commonly used for women than men. Real bunnies tend to be a bit cuter than mice, which may have to do with the fact that their classification as rodents was revoked back in 1912 (now they're so-called lagomorphs). Diminutives, by the way, can be used with just about any nickname — in this case it would be "Häschen."
Bärchen (little bear)
Catchy nicknames certainly aren't reserved for women though. Even for men, the cuteness factor is crucial, which is why "Bär" (bear) is mostly used in the diminutive. Still, there's nothing small about a Bärchen. It's best used for men whose tummies look like they could be full of honey, and are perfect for cuddling up on.
Mausebär (mouse bear)
It seems that Germans ran out of cute animals to call their loved ones, so they made up their own: "Mausebär" (a combination of mouse and bear). While our imaginations run wild picturing this marriage of opposites, we are left wondering: Should we be offended or flattered when someone calls us a Mausebär?
Even less flattering than Mausebär is being called a "Schnecke." They have few desirable qualities: Snails tend to be slow, sticky and slimy. Nevertheless, watch out! If a guy calls you a snail, he may want to get under your shell.
Schnucki (no English translation)
"Schnucki" may sound like Schnecke, but it's an entirely different word. The trouble is, there's no exact English translation for it. It's merely a cute-sounding word Germans made up to dote on the people they love. Try it out on your sweetheart and see what happens!
Lest you get the wrong idea, German certainly does include some terms of endearment that actually have an attractive literal meaning, even though "Perle" (pearl) does still have a close link to the animal kingdom. You won't hear this nickname all over Germany — it's a favorite in the Ruhr Valley, the country's industrial heartland.
"Liebling" is about as close as German comes to the English "darling." While the expression contains the word for love — "Liebe" — it's also borrowed for other purposes. Liebling can be used as a prefix meaning "favorite." Your "Lieblingsbuch," for example, is your favorite book. You could say, then, that your Liebling is your favorite person.
Süsse or Süsser (sweetie)
Snails and mice may not be particularly sweet, but that doesn't mean Germans don't want to recognize the sugary quality of their loved ones. Since "süss" is technically an adjective in German, it receives a different ending depending on the gender of the person. This woman's boyfriend would call her "Süsse," while she could call him "Süsser."
You don't have to go to the end of the rainbow to find it, because "Schatz" is by far the most common German term of endearment. It's popular among lovers and old married couples, but also used for children. Those who want to mix it up a bit give the word a diminutive ending like "Schatzi" or "Schätzchen."