If you’ve ever been in a relationship, chances are you’ve had a pet name for your partner. Regardless of whether you love or hate them, the options for pet names are endless, from sweet and romantic, to the amusing and even slightly offensive!
We’ve surveyed the nation to reveal how people really feel about pet names and create a definitive ranking of the ones we love, as well as those we really can’t stand.
From the classic darling, to the cringey extremes of cutie pie, chances are a few of the below have creeped into you and your partner’s dialect over the years. From the two thousand people we surveyed, here are the UK’s picks…
Darling is officially our favourite term of endearment, with this taking the top spot to be crowned the UK’s favourite pet name. We also found people get weak at the knees for sweetie and babe, with these coming in second and third place respectively.
When it comes to those we can’t stand, you’d do well to avoid calling your SO sausage at all costs, as this is the pet name that tops our most hated list. Doll, bird and bae are also worthy contenders, with these names also getting right under out skin. Both men and women also don’t like to be referred to as sexy, instead preferring terms of affection that are less objectifying.
With something as deeply personal as our relationships, chances are there are names we have for each other that don’t fall under the traditional pet name umbrella. We left an open response for this very reason, revealing some of the more unusual terms we use!
With the power of pet names often signifying a strong emotional connection, we’ve also investigated how our preferred choices differ across the UK. In greater London, babe and love came out on top, with the capital preferring the short and snappy above the overly affectionate. Those in the South West and South East also opted for the safe bet of sweetheart and darling as their favourites. As we venture further north, it might not come as a surprise that calling your partner love is a tradition very much alive in Yorkshire and the North West.
Much of the UK agreed that sausage is the ultimate pet name faux pas, with Scotland, Northern Ireland and half of England naming this their most hated name. For those in the West Midlands, bird is the term that gets under their skin the most, whilst those in Yorkshire have rejected modernity and rated bae as their most despised.
For the gay and lesbian community, the evergreen appeal of love makes it their go to pet name. As for what makes them wince, anyone referring to their partner as the missus is most likely to result in a cringe. Those who identify as bisexual are most likely to prefer babe, whilst bae once again proves to be unpopular.
Based on a survey of 2,000 respondents from a nationally representative survey. We asked people from across the UK what their most loved and hated pet names are. From this, we’ve been able to build a picture of pet name etiquette in the UK broken down by location and sexuality.