12 Italian Terms of Endearment For The (Little) Ones You Love

May 30, 2014
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No one does terms of endearment like Italy. Surprise your sweethearts back home or add to the mealtime Italian lessons you’ll take on a Me + Mom in Tuscany retreat with these popular nicknames for children and special someones. Ranging from heart-melting to playful, they’ll help you articulate your love in an original way — with romance language flair!

1. Amore! (ah-MOH-reh)

Direct, meaningful, and probably the most popular term of endearment in Italy, amore translates to “love” in Italian.

2. Tesoro! (teh-SOH-roh)

Call those you really cherish, tesoro; you’ll be referring to them as “treasure.”

3. Cuore Mio! (COOWOH-reh MEE-oh)

“My heart!” is an emphatic way to address loved ones that have stolen yours.

4. Vita Mia! (VEE-ta MEE-ah)

Vita mia is one of the most powerful Italian terms of endearment. It literally means, “My life!”

5. Luce dei Miei Occhi! (LOO-chee deyee mee-EHYEE OHK-kee)

“Light of my eyes!” One of my favorite, incredibly poetic nicknames for anyone that illuminates your world.

6. Cucciolo/a! (COO-choh-loh/lah)*

This one is especially sweet because it touches on the bond between parents and children. Cucciolo means “puppy,” “cub,” or any type of baby animal in general.

cucciolo

7. Passerotto/a! (pahs-seh-ROT-toh/tah)*

An affectionate metaphor for anyone who’s “learning to fly,” passerotto translates to “little sparrow.”

8. Topolino/a! (toh-poh-LEE-noh/nah)*

Continuing with the animal theme, Topolino means “little mouse” and is also what Mickey Mouse is called in Italy.

9. Patatino/a! (pah-tah-TEE-noh/nah)*

Translating to “little potato,” this is one of the most common terms of endearment for children in Italy.

10. Piccolo/a! (peek-KOHL-loh/lah)*

If you’ve noticed, “little” is part of most Italian nicknames. Piccolo is “small” in it’s purest form; it simply means, “little one.”

11. Mimmo/a! (MEEM-moh/mah)* baby

Mimmo is the shorter, sweeter, and very Tuscan phonetic equivalent to bambino (bahm-BEE-noh), the Italian word for “child” or “baby.”

12. Polpetto/a! (pohl-PEHT-toh/tah)*

Of course this would be a nickname used in Italy. For the larger “little ones” in your life, it lovingly translates to “meatball.”

*End the word in “o” for boys, “a” for girls

I’ve always called my son “Pippolo” (PEEP-poh-loh). I don’t really know where it came from or what it means, but it just fits him.

What special nicknames do you use for your loved ones?

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