French is the language of love, quite literally a romance language! We would be heartbroken to not present to you the top 10 terms of endearment in French so you can use them the next time you’re whispering sweet nothings with your beloved. We’ll include darling expressions for everyone from your significant other to your nieces and nephews, along with their English equivalents.
Without any further ado, let’s say “I do” to these French terms of endearment!
Starting off sweet, you can use the phrase “mon amour” to say “my love” in French. This romantic phrase is best reserved for non-platonic relationships and is a beautiful way to express to someone how much they mean to you. This is a phrase you’ll hear between couples not only in serious discussions about their relationship, but also in mundane moments to remind their partner how much they love them.
- Mon amour, peux-tu me passer le beurre ? – My love, can you pass me the butter?
Another way to address your French girlfriend or boyfriend is “mon cœur”, literally meaning “my heart.” Use this lovely phrase with your significant other, perhaps along with the phrase “Je t’aime” – “I love you” or “Tu me manques” – “I miss you”. Interestingly, this last phrase literally translates to “you are missing from me”, and when used with the phrase “mon cœur”, you could express the idea that your heart is missing because you’re not around your partner. How romantic!
- Tu es le centre de mon univers, mon cœur. – You are the center of the universe, my heart.
Mon mec, Ma meuf
A more informal option is to refer to your significant other is with “mon mec” for male partners or “ma meuf” for female partners. More often used when speaking about them rather than to them, these phrases are the equivalent of “my man” or “my girl” in English, with a more informal connotation. These two words really border on slang though, so some people might prefer not to be called a mec or a meuf.
- Mon mec m’a acheté un super cadeau. – My man bought me a great gift.
- Ouais, c’est ma meuf, elle est très belle. – Yeah, that’s my girl, she’s really beautiful.
On a cuter note, you can use “ma puce” with anyone that you love. This adorable French word for “sweetie” or “my dear” is appropriate for your significant other, a child, or even a friend. It is often used with children to mean “sweetie pie” and could be used the same way with a partner. With a friend, you could use this phrase to comfort them and remind them how much they mean to you.
- Je t’aime, ma puce. Bonne nuit ! – I love you, sweetie pie. Good night!
- Oh, ma puce, tout ira bien. – Oh, my dear, everything will be all right.
Mon ami, Mon amie
With platonic relationships, use “mon ami” or “mon amie,” both meaning “my friend” in French. “Mon ami” refers to a male or nonbinary friend, while “mon amie” refers to a female friend.
- Je te présente Amy, c’est mon amie. – I’d like to introduce you to Amy, she’s my friend.
Mon pote, Ma pote
Another, more informal way to say “my friend” in French is “mon pote” or “ma pote.” A “pote” is roughly similar to a “pal” or “homie” for someone you’re close with. It’s definitely more of a slang expression, so best used with the younger crowd!
- Mon pote, tu sors avec nous ce soir ? – Homie, you coming out with us tonight?
Mon cher, Ma chérie
Meaning “my dear” or “my darling” in French, the phrase “mon cher” or “ma chérie” can be used with a significant other or a child. This is among the classic French terms of endearment and is widely used and recognized, so it’s a go-to if you’re not sure what to say!
- Ma chérie, que veux-tu faire demain ? – My darling, what do you want to do tomorrow?
- N’importe quoi, je serai simplement heureuse d’être avec toi, mon cher. – Whatever, I’ll simply be happy to be with you, my dear.
Mon petit chou
“Mon petit chou,” meaning “sweetie” in French, is a sweet nickname usually used for small children. It literally translates to “my little cabbage” because “chou” means “cabbage.”
We can also think of “mon petit chou” as a reference to “chou à la crème”, meaning “cream puff.” So, a sweeter translation could be “my little cream puff!” You can use this adorable term with people of any gender, as the word “chou” is masculine.
- Mon petit chou, il faut te coucher. – Sweetie, you need to go to bed.
Mon chou chou
Similar to “mon petit chou”, “mon chou chou” also means “sweetie” “or “sweetie pie” in French. It’s a cuter way to express the same idea as above, and is almost always used with children. You’d use this term with a child you are familiar with, such as your own child, a younger brother or sister, or perhaps a friend’s child.
- T’as un an, mon chou chou ! – You’re one year old, sweetie pie!
Mon loulou, Ma louloute
The last of our French terms of endearment is “mon loulou” or “ma louloute,” meaning “my baby” or “my darling.” It is almost exclusively used with children, said in a sing-songy baby voice. It’s common for parents to address their young children this way, though close friends can also use it on each other when they’re being cutesy.
- Je t’aime, ma louloute, passe une bonne journée à l’école ! – I love you, my darling, have a good day at school!
- Les loulous, on retourne chez moi ? – Darlings, shall we go back to my place?
Summary: French terms of endearment
For quick reference, here’s an easy list of the various French terms of endearment we’ve just learned, grouped depending on who you can use each with.
|Use with children||Use with friends||Use with romantic partners|
|ma puce||ma puce||ma puce|
|mon cher, ma chérie||mon ami, mon amie||mon cher, ma chérie|
|mon petit chou||mon pote, ma pote||mon chou|
|mon chou chou||mon amour|
|mon loulou, ma louloute||mon cœur|
|mon mec, ma meuf|
There are many different ways to address and talk about people you love in French, from children and family members to friends and romantic partners.
Depending on your relationship with each person, the best choice of phrase will differ, but most will begin with “mon” or “ma” to express “my.” From there, choose the word that best describes what you want to express in that moment – my friend, my love, my darling, and so on – and make sure that your phrase matches the gender of the person you’re talking to or about.
Although parting is such sweet sorrow, absence does make the heart grow fonder – merci beaucoup for reading, mon ami(e), and see you again soon!