In America people will call their kids honey, sweetie, darling, sweetheart. What sort of affectionate names to Chinese people have for their kids, if any?

  • There are too many affectionate names for calling kids, but "寶寶" and "寶貝" are the most universal/prevalent.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 4 at 19:44

4 Answers 4


It depends. Sometimes doubling up the given name (second or third character) serves the purpose. Sometimes the use of a very slightly derogatory such as 豬豬 does the trick.

  • Quote:- "...doubling up the given name (second or third character)...." I think this is the most prevalent. Callings like "honey, sweetie, darling, sweetheart" are not common in conservative Chinese families. In fact examples like 寶寶 and 寶貝 stopped when the child went passed 3 or 4. Commented Jun 5 at 16:29

1. Based on Growth Stages:

Before puberty, children can be called by cute and affectionate names or nicknames. For example, names like "little one," "sweetie," or "cutie." In Chinese, we often use repetitive words that sound endearing, like "乖乖" (guai guai, meaning well-behaved), "宝宝" (bao bao, meaning baby) or "猪猪" (zhu zhu, meaning little piggy).

After puberty, it is better to avoid these childish names. Instead, you can use titles like "big brother/sister" and "little brother/sister".

For example, "小明哥" (Xiao Ming ge, meaning Brother Xiao Ming) or "小丽妹" (Xiao Li mei, meaning Sister Xiao Li). Or,use "小" (Xiao, meaning little) followed by a part of their name. This "小" can be followed by their surname or another character from their name, but it shouldn't be too childish. For example, "小王" (Xiao Wang) or "小李" (Xiao Li).

2. Based on Mood:

When children are behaving well, you can call them by affectionate names, like: "小乖乖" (Xiao guai guai, meaning Little good one), "乖宝宝" (Guai bao bao, meaning Good baby), "宝宝" (Bao bao, meaning My baby)

When children are misbehaving, you might use more stern or playful names, like: "小兔崽子" (Xiao tu zai zi, meaning Little rascal), "小混蛋子" (Xiao hun dan zi, meaning Little troublemaker), "臭小子" (Chou xiao zi, meaning Naughty kid), "小坏坏" (Xiao huai huai, meaning Little bad one)


People usually address each other by their given names, not their full names.

For example, "张三丰"("Zhang Sanfeng.")

His parents might call him "三丰"("Sanfeng") or "丰丰"("Fengfeng.")。

Usually, the full name "Zhang Sanfeng" is used in more stern and formal situations. For example, when a child breaks a vase and is about to be scolded.

However, parents (or others) rarely use a single character to address someone.

For example, in the case of "Li Si," his parents might directly call him "Li Si."

On the other hand, a person might have multiple names:

Family tree name, childhood nickname, and formal name (as on an ID card).

Here's an example:

  • Family tree name: 王承华

  • Childhood nickname: 狗蛋

  • Formal name: 王华然

Parents would usually call him "狗蛋".

China is vast, with diverse cultures and customs.

Different regions, ethnic groups, work environments, and education levels can lead to various forms of address.

Using "赵四达" as an example:

Possible forms of address include:

  • 四达
  • 达达
  • 达儿 (male/female),达女 (female)
  • 达娃子
  • 小达
  • 达仔

Finally, there are, of course, some affectionate terms similar to "honey," "sweetie," "darling," "sweetheart."

For example:

  • 宝宝(baby)
  • 乖乖(good child)
  • 儿子 (son)

In Chinese culture, parents often use a variety of affectionate terms to address their children. Here are some common ones:

宝宝 (bǎo bǎo): Literally translates to "treasure" or "baby." It's a commonly used term of endearment for young children.

小宝贝 (xiǎo bǎo bèi): Means "little treasure" or "little darling." Similar to 宝宝 (bǎo bǎo), but with an added emphasis on cuteness.

小可爱 (xiǎo kě ài): Translates to "little cutie" or "little sweetheart." It's used to express affection and fondness for a child's adorable qualities.

小糖球 (xiǎo táng qiú): Literally means "little sugar ball." It's a sweet and endearing term often used for young children.

乖乖 (guāi guāi): Means "well-behaved" or "obedient." It's used to encourage good behavior and show affection.

小蜜蜂 (xiǎo mì fēng): Translates to "little bee." It's used to convey the idea of being busy and active, like a buzzing bee, and is often used for energetic children.

小天使 (xiǎo tiān shǐ): Means "little angel." It's a loving term used to express the innocence and purity of children.

These terms of endearment are commonly used by parents and family members to show affection and love towards children in Chinese culture.

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