German terms of endearment – Deutsche Kosenamen

Valentine’s Day is approaching this month which is why in this post I am sharing with you a post about German terms of endearment.  While the English language is incredibly inventive when it comes to swearing, German has a lot of terms of endearment or “Kosenamen” as we say.  A lot of them are made up and I have to admit – not all are translatable. Please note f stands for feminine, m (masculine) and n for neuter.

The classic ones:

Liebling – darling, which is quite old fashioned and not so popular

Liebelein – more used for children

Liebchen – also used for children

Schatz/ Schatzi – used for both men and women and also means darling. It is one of the most popular Kosenamen.

Süber (for him) and Sübe (for her)  – sweetie / sweetheart

Liebste (f)/ Liebster (m)

Prinz (m) /Prinzessin (f)

Engel – angel – used mostly for women.

Kleiner (m), Kleine (f) and Kleines (n) – means: small one used for men, women and mostly children.

Non gender specific Kosenamen which can be used for both genders and are also used for pets.

Schnuffi – not gender specific

Knuffi – not gender specific

Schnuckel – not gender specific

Schnucki  – not gender specific

Knuddel – as in knuddeln – to cuddle. I use this a lot when I talk to our cat. I often call her Knuddelkatze. Although I also sometimes call her little shit and Rippy!

Knuddeltierchen – cuddly little animal.

Also very popular is using the suffix –chen after the name – for example Paulchen.

Fun fact: the cartoon Pink Panther was called Paulchen Panther in Germany.

The Germans also love using foreign words as Kosenamen such as Cherie, Darling and Sugar.

Animals feature an awful lot in German terms of endearment.

Hase / Hasi (means hare) – is mostly used for men.

Mausi/ Mäuschen/Maus – mostly used for women.

Hasi-Mausi  – sounds pretty awful I know, but it’s used by women and men.

Bär/ Bärchen/ Knuddelbär/ Bärli – mostly used for men. Bär means bear in German

Bienchen – is mostly used for women or girls and means. It means little bee.

Kätzchen –  is used for women and means little cat.

Katerchen – is used for men and means little tom cat.

Schmusetiger/ Schmusekatze/Schmusekater – cuddly tiger/cat/tom cat used by both genders.

Schnecke – snail  or slug (!) mostly used for women is my guess. I wouldn’t be happy if someone would call me that!

The list for animal type Kosenamen is quite extensive and you can find lots more examples on this website.

Often Germans just make up their own Kosenamen. Personally I tend to stick to Schnuffi, Knuffi and Knuddelbär for my man, but I use them rarely. Kosenamen are mostly reserved for our cat.

Our cat Bobby – also known as Knuffi, Knuddlelkatze and Rippy (because she tends to rip the carpet!)

I hope you found this post enlightening and useful.

Please feel free to comment below and share.

Thanks for reading

Helen 🙂



Helen White

I am a bilingual journalist, jewellery designer, German tutor, and translator – and I am passionate about cats.

Helen White – who has written posts on Helen Kaut Press.

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