Endearment terms are a sweet and affectionate way to show love and appreciation towards someone special to us. Whether it’s a romantic partner, a close friend, or a family member, using endearment terms can help to make our relationships feel closer and more connected.
Like any other language, in Chinese, there are plenty of endearment terms the Chinese use to refer to their loved ones. Let’s show you the four easiest ones.
The first character 寶/宝 means “treasure,” and 貝/贝 means “shell” or “seashell”. In ancient China, shells were used as a “currency.” So, putting those two characters together, 寶貝/宝贝 (bǎo bèi; treasure + currency), gives a real sense of something or someone who is precious to you!
寶貝/宝贝 is mostly used by romantic young couples, similar to the English slang word “babe.” However, occasionally, you might hear the Chinese call their actual baby 寶貝/宝贝 (baby).
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Hubby & Wifey 老公 & 老婆
Depending on the level of formality, different terms can be used by Chinese married couples to address each other. The most colloquial way for a Chinese woman to call her husband is “老公” (hubby; lǎo gōng); similarly, a Chinese man can call his wife “老婆” (wifey; lǎo pó).
You can also use those two endearing terms on informal social occasions to introduce your husband or wife. Here are the example sentences.
- This is my husband 這是我的老公/这是我的老公 (zhè shì wǒde lǎogōng)
- This is my wife 這是我的老婆/这是我的老婆 (zhè shì wǒde lǎopó)
The final endearing term you’re learning is 親愛的/亲爱的 (qīn ài de), which consists of three characters. The first character, 親/亲, means ”dear” as a noun or ”to kiss” as a verb. 愛/爱 (ài) is “love.” And the last character, 的, functions as a possessive particle.
So, if you say 親愛的老公/亲爱的老公, it means ”darling husband.” However, that might sound a bit over the top. So typically, no other word is needed after the term 親愛的/亲爱的 (darling) when expressing your affection verbally.
Nevertheless, when writing informal letters, 親愛的/亲爱的 can mean “Dear,” and then you will need to add the name of the recipient. For example:
- Dear friend 親愛的朋友/亲爱的朋友 (qīnàide péngyǒu)
- Dear David 親愛的大衛/亲爱的大卫 (qīnàide dàwèi)
Choose one that feels genuine and authentic to your relationship and use it to charm your loved ones. Using endearment terms can add a special touch to your relationship and make your love feel even stronger. Happy Valentine’s Day!