10 Russian Terms of Endearment

Precious moments of love. Close up portrait of handsome bearded guy kissing his girlfriend in cheek while she hugging him. Lady closing eyes with pleasure and smiling

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Terms of endearment are very popular in Russia and are freely used in most social settings, apart from formal situations. The language lends itself perfectly to expressing affection because of the way that any noun and adjective can be turned into a term of endearment by changing the ending and adding one of the diminutive suffixes.

However, there are many Russian words that exist for the sole purpose of showing adoration, love, approval, or admiration. Additionally, Russians love to use diminutive forms of animal names to show affection.

In this article, we look at the most popular Russian terms of endearment and examples of their usage.

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Pronunciation: SOLNtse/SOLnyshkuh

Translation: the sun/little or baby sun

Meaning: sunshine

One of the most common affectionate terms in Russian, солнышко is suitable for informal settings such as addressing close friends and loved ones.


- Здравствуй, мое солнышко! (sdRASTvooy, maYO SOLnyshkuh)
- Hello, my sunshine/hello darling!

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Pronunciation: ZAYchik/ZAya/ZAYka/zayCHOnuk

Translation: little rabbit/female rabbit/little female rabbit

Meaning: bunny

Another popular term of endearment, зайка and any other diminutives of заяц (ZAyats)—bunny rabbit—are used when speaking to loved ones, very close friends, and children. Some people also use it with their wider circle of friends and acquaintances, especially the word зая.


- Зая, ты получила мое сообщение? (ZAya, ty palooCHEEla maYO saabSHYEniye?)
- Bunny/darling, did you see my message?

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Pronunciation: RYPka

Translation: baby/little fish

Meaning: fishlet, sweetie

Рыбка is most commonly used when addressing female loved ones and friends.


- У меня для тебя сюрприз, моя рыбка. (oo myNYA dlya tyBYA syurPREEZ, maYA RYPka)
- I have a surprise for you, sweetie.

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Pronunciation: maLYSH/maLYSHka/malySHOnuk

Translation: baby/baby girl/little baby

Meaning: baby/baby boy/baby girl

Малыш can be used both for males and females (малышка is the female term of the word). Малышонок is most commonly used when talking to or about a small child.


- Малыш, не расстраивайся, все будет хорошо. (maLYSH, ny rasTRAeevaysya, vsyo BOOdyt haraSHO)
- Baby, don't be sad, it will be alright.

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Pronunciation: LApa/LApachka/laPOOshychka

Translation: paw/little paw

Meaning: sweetie pie

Although it may sound strange to call someone a little paw, in Russian, лапа and its derivatives are very popular and describe someone cute.


- Кто моя лапушечка? (KTO maYA laPOOshychka?)
- Who's my sweetie pie?

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Pronunciation: KOtik/kaTYOnak/kaTYOnachyk

Translation: kitten

Meaning: kitten

Used in informal settings, for example, when talking to close friends or family, котик and its other forms can be used both for males and females.


- Котик, иди пить чай. (KOtik, eeDEE pit' CHAY)
- Kitten, come and have some tea.

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Pronunciation: radNOY (masculine)/radNAya (feminine)

Translation: family, related by blood

Meaning: my dear

Родной/родная are used very commonly when addressing one's partner or close family. The word comes from род (rod)—family, ancestral line. It can be compared to the English "soulmate" in its general meaning.


- Родная, пойдем домой. (radNAya, payDYOM daMOY)
- Darling, let's go home.

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Pronunciation: MEElyi (masculine)/MEElaya (feminine)

Translation: loved one, cute, pleasant, attractive

Translation: dear, darling, loved one

Милый/милая are used only when addressing or talking to one's partner.


- Милый мой, я так соскучилась. (MEEly moy, ya tak sasKOOchilas)
- My darling, I miss you so much.

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Pronunciation: lyuBEEmiy (masculine)/lyuBEEmaya (feminine)

Translation: loved one

Meaning: darling, my love, love

Another term of endearment that is only used when talking to or about one's partner or loved one, любимый is a very common way to express affection.


- Любимая, ты уже проснулась? (lyuBEEmaya, ty ooZHE prasNOOlas?)
- Darling, are you awake?

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Pronunciation: OOMnitsa/oomNYASHka

Translation: clever one, smart one

Meaning: clever clogs, that's my boy/girl, well done

Умница is a versatile term of endearment that can be used in many social settings, for example, with family members, friends, loved ones, and even in more formal situations, such as a teacher praising a student's answer.


- Она такая умница, у нее все всегда получается. (aNA taKAya OOMnitsa, oo nyYO VSYO vsyGDA palooCHAyetsa)
- She's such a smart cookie, she's good at everything.

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Your Citation
Nikitina, Maia. "10 Russian Terms of Endearment." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/russian-terms-of-endearment-4768849. Nikitina, Maia. (2020, August 28). 10 Russian Terms of Endearment. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/russian-terms-of-endearment-4768849 Nikitina, Maia. "10 Russian Terms of Endearment." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/russian-terms-of-endearment-4768849 (accessed June 4, 2023).