A term of endearment
is a word or phrase used to address and/or describe a person, animal or inanimate object for which the speaker feels love
. Terms of endearment are used for a variety of reasons, such as parents addressing their children
addressing each other.
Such words may not, in their original use, bear any resemblance in meaning to the meaning attached when used as a term of endearment, for example calling a significant other "pumpkin". Some words are clearly derived from each other, such as "sweetheart" and "sweetie", while others bear no etymological resemblance, such as "baby" and "cutie". "Honey" has been documented as a term of endearment in ancient Greece
. "Baby" is first used in 1839 and "sugar" only appears as recently as 1930.
Most terms of endearment are concrete nouns that have favorable associations, either with a sweet taste
or the nature of the relationship
. Sometimes, abstract nouns are used, such as "sweetness", implying that the object of the speaker's affection is not only sweet, but embodies sweetness itself.
Use of terms of endearment can reveal little or nothing about the true quality of the relationship in question.
Each term of endearment has its own connotations, which are highly dependent on the situation they are used in, such as tone of voice, body language, and social context. Saying... Read More